In Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, FIFA President Gianni Infantino welcomed the signing of a historic declaration between the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which took place at the 41st GCC summit.
After years of regional disputes, the summit, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia, saw leaders of all GCC members support a statement that reaffirms the importance of solidarity and stability in the region and aims to restore collaboration among all member states to its natural path.
In a symbolic move, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed the document alongside Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Kuwait’s Amir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the UAE’s Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said, and GCC’s Secretary General Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf. Egypt was also invited to the summit and signed the Al-Ula declaration.
Commenting on the agreement, President Infantino said: “FIFA congratulates all the GCC members for today’s declaration, which is a very positive step for the region on the path to reconciliation. Football has shown throughout this crisis that it is a unique platform of exchange for people of the Gulf and I am sure the game will continue to unite the region in the near future. The FIFA Arab Cup at the end of 2021 will bring 22 Arab countries together, uniting millions of fans from the entire region, and it will be an important step in the preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. This will be the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and in the Arab world, a unique opportunity for the entire region to unite and shine on the global stage.”