Kuwait's delegation to the Arabian Gulf Cup games in Iraq was forced to leave the stadium due to a brawl that broke out ahead of the opening ceremony.
In a video circulating around social media, men in the VIP section at the Basra International Stadium were seen arguing and pushing one another while others attempted to separate them, in a brawl which erupted shortly after the Kuwaiti delegation arrived.
اشتباكات في منطقة كبار الشخصيات ببطولة كاس الخليج!
— Gorgeous (@gorgeous4ew) January 6, 2023
According to Abdulaziz al-Samhan – one of the directors of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA) – who spoke to Kuwaiti media, the delegation was forced to leave after the chaos prevented the entry of Sheikh Fahad al-Nasser, representative of the country's emir.
"We left after we heard [al-Nasser] couldn't enter", Samhan said. "This upset us and we [walked out] in solidarity [with him], and we're currently at the hotel." The KFA director also revealed that he was robbed while walking from the stadium's entrance toward the VIP section, saying he realised as he sat down that his pocket was torn with a sharp object and that his wallet was missing.
The incident marked a seemingly poor start to the eight-nation Arabian Gulf Cup, in which teams from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – will compete along with Yemen and Iraq. This year is its 25th occurrence of the games, and is the first time since 1979 that Iraq is hosting it.