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Iraq Faces FIFA Suspension

  • Reuters, Friday, May 23, 2008 11:45 AM
Asian champion Iraqs face suspension from FIFA after the Iraqi government dissolved the country's soccer federation. The Asian Football Confederation demanded the body's immediate reinstatement, while AFC president Mohamed bin Hamman said Iraq's government had no right to dismiss democratically elected officials, and that the AFC would recognize no other body.
 
Iraq is set to play Australia twice in World Cup qualifiers next month. Since lifting the Asian Cup last year, Iraq has struggled in its 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, losing three of its first four games, and sacking Norwegian coach Egil Olsen. FIFA has a zero tolerance policy on political interference in soccer matters, and will certainly suspend Iraq if the government doesn't back down, jeopardizing its participation in the World Cup.
 
"AFC's appeal to the sports minister of Iraq is to restore the integrity of the association so that it can carry out its normal activities," bin Hamman said. FIFA's executive committee will discuss the matter Tuesday when it meets in Sydney.

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