The 6 Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) member countries are eligible to participate.
Additionally any of the remaining 6 countries, that are members of both the AFC and UAFA may be invited.
7 countries enter the competition:
- all 6 GCC member countries;
- 2 invitees (Iraq and Yemen).
All matches from the Group stage and Final Stages take place in Kuwait.
2 teams are drawn into 2 group of 4 teams each (Groups A-B).
The host country and the last edition's winner are seeded as heads of the two groups.
If one team is both host and winner of the competition's last edition, then the last competition's losing finalist is seeded.
Each team plays the others from its own group once - for a total of 3 games each, over 3 game weeks.
3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, 0 points for a loss.
1. points won; 2. total goal difference; 3. total goals scored; 4. points in head-to-head matches; 5. goal difference in hth matches; 6. goals scored in hth matches; 7. draw.
Qualification for the Knockout stage:
1-2 place of each group: qualify for the Knockout stage
4 teams from Group stage contest the Gulf Cup of Nations in a knockout format.
Teams are paired according to their Group stage standings:
1st in Group A vs 2nd in Group B;
1st in Group B vs 2nd in Group A.
Winners are decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.
The two Semi-finals winners meet each other with the winner becoming Gulf Cup of Nations winner.
Winner is decided over one leg, with extra time and penalties if score is level after regular time.