Written By: Mohammed al-Kibsi
Article Date: Aug 16, 2010 - 10:39:51 PM
The GCC member states alleged that they accepted Yemen as a member of their council. However they said initially Yemen is accepted as a member in four of their councils, Sports, Education, Health and… Their excuse for not joining Yemen fully to the GCC was that they have to qualify Yemen economically within 10 years.
Many Yemenis are making fun of Yemen’s acceptance to the GCC in sports only. They say that the GCC wanted Yemen’s soccer team to participate in their tournaments because of its modest level that enables them to defeat it. (Yemen’s soccer team came last in all GCC soccer games so far.)
At London conference’s in 2006 and 2010 the donor countries relied on the GCC states to fund the different development programs in Yemen. Also the group of Friends of Yemen relies on the GCC states as they play a substantial role in helping Yemen.
Until now they have done very little to help qualify Yemen’s economy. Some economic and political analysts have even accused some of the GCC countries of being behind the recent record low of Yemen’s currency because Yemen has better ties with a certain GCC member states.
It seems their strategy for qualifying Yemen’s economy is to beat it below belt.
A person might ask; who has been funding al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who has been launching attacks in Yemen. Who is sponsoring the insurgents of the Southern Movement?
Who is funding al-Houthi rebels in the North? All indicators point to a number of developed countries as the main sponsors. Some indicators refer to certain member states of the GCC.
Let us get back to the soccer issue. According to the bylaws of the GCC sports council, Yemen was decided to host the 20th round of the GCC Soccer tournament in 2010.
However Bahrain announced its desire to host this tournament claiming that Yemen was not qualified to host the event because it doesn’t have enough Soccer fields and enough hotels to accommodate participants and fans.
In return Yemen accelerated the construction process of the stadiums and required hotels. Last month the GCC Soccer officials met and decided that Yemen will be the host of the 20th tournament . They also decided to meet in Sana’a on August 24 to form the draw for the participating teams.
However all the sudden Yemen's Soccer Federation received a message to attend a meeting called by Bahrain< Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to attend a meeting on August 24 in Kuwait just a week later to determine how to reverse the decision and transfer the tournament to Bahrain. This came just a few days following the visit of Amir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani to Yemen.
Yemen decided to arrange the games in Aden and the southern provinces for a number of reasons, among these reasons was to promote tourism in Aden and the southern cities and to improve the economies of the southern provinces. Also Aden and southern cities were chosen to host the tournaments because of the altitude. Sana’a and northern cities are substantially higher in elevation and there is less oxygen that might affect players from the Gulf States but not on the Yemeni players giving an unfair advantage.
Banning Yemen from hosting the Soccer tournament is going to deprive it from its right as a member of the sports council of the GCC. It also will deprive Yemen from improvements in the economies of the southern cities and by developing the tourism sector.
Is this the way the GCC member states are helping to qualify Yemen’s economy?
The latest pretence by the three countries to transfer the games to Bahrain was the security situation in the country, claiming that there is not enough security in the southern provinces to host the games safely.
What was really strange was that the southern movement and opposition parties warned the Gulf States not hold the tournament in the Southern Provinces. I would understand their warning if they said not to play in the Northern provinces. Is this the way they think to improve the incomes of the allegedly deprived southerners.
Yemen has another option for solving this problem, by transferring the matches to the Northern provinces where security is better. Bring them to Sana’a and letting them suffer from the high altitude and lack of oxygen.
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