Last updated: 1 April, 2012

Iraq seeks end to FIFA home ban

Iraq wants an end to a FIFA ban on hosting official matches that was imposed last year, and wants to be able to host friendlies in the interim, an Iraqi football official said on Sunday.

“We are seeking to convince FIFA to lift the ban on our national team playing in our stadium, and will present FIFA officials with (evidence that) will prove we are able to host games … according to the rules of FIFA,” said Abdel Khaleq Massoud, vice president of the Iraqi Football Association (IFA).

IFA President Najeh Hmoud is to head a delegation to meet FIFA chief Sepp Blatter in Zurich on April 13 to discuss issues related to the future of Iraqi football, Massoud said.

He added that the delegation would propose that Iraq be permitted to host friendly matches in Baghdad while the ban on official matches remains in place.

FIFA barred Iraq from hosting matches following a September 2 match in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region, due to the poor administration and organisation surrounding it.

In particular, the match was delayed for 10 minutes because of a power cut, and the stadium appeared to have significantly more spectators than its capacity of 12,400.