Blatter to attend Gulf Cup opening ceremony

FIFA president Sepp Blatter will attend the opening ceremony of the 21st Gulf Cup next month in Bahrain, according to a statement from the organising committee.

The Gulf Cup's opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the National Stadium in Riffa on January 5 and 18, 2013. Meanwhile, the tournament's technical affairs committee unveiled the preliminary squads of the participating teams. Each contingent consists of 35 players and ten technical and administrative staff. According to the committee, December 27 will be the last day for the teams to make changes to the line-ups.

The concluding technical body meeting will be held on January 4, when each team's final list of 23 players will be confirmed. Also, the organisers reviewed arrangements for the media at the National Stadium and the Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town, which are the two venues of the tournament. Earlier, Omani referee Abdullah al Hilali was picked to officiate in the competition that will feature a total of eight referees - one from each participating nation.

The two assistant referees for the tournament from Oman are Hamad al Miyahi and Saif al Ghafri. The eight referees and their 16 assistants were picked on the basis of their experience and handling of matches at previous editions of the Gulf Cup. Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov, who is on the referees' panel, was selected by the community, 'World of Football Refereeing', as the world's best referee in 2011.

A total of seven training areas have been finalised for the teams. The teams will practise at the Hamad Town arena, Al Ahli Club, the Bahrain Football Association arenas 1 and 2, Riffa Club, Al Najma Club and Askar club

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