PtG Article 02.12.2009

AFC condemns Iraqi NOC interference

The Asian Football Confederation has condemned the decision by the Iraq Olympic Committee to dissolve the country’s football association.

Iraq recently became the eleventh country to be suspended by FIFA in the last five years after the IOC took control of the country’s football association headquarters using armed guards and the AFC’s stance comes ahead of a crucial FIFA’s executive committee (ExCo) meeting this week, where the issue is likely to be discussed.

AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam, who sits on the FIFA ExCo, said: “This not only goes against the FIFA and AFC statutes but against the spirit of the game. The only governors of football in the country that we recognise are the Iraq Football Association.“I am happy that executive committee members are all in support of the Iraq Football Association and condemn the actions of the Iraq Olympic Committee in interfering with their independence.”Iraqi teams and officials are unable to take part in international football functions until FIFA removes the suspension.  The AFC has urged the government-backed IOC to relinquish control of the country’s football organization and will lobby FIFA’s ExCo for greater support of the dissolved IFA.Dr Mong-Joon Chung of South Korea is the AFC’s most senior member and a vice president of the FIFA ExCo but the Qatari Bin Hammam, Thailand’s Worawi Makudi, and Junji Ogura of Japan are also on the committee, which is chaired by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.The IOC’s move has also been condemned by Iraqi politicians, including the leader of the secular Ahrar party, Ayad Jamal Aldin.FIFA’s ExCo is appointed in the year after a World Cup finals and comprises eight vice-presidents and 15 members, who are appointed by the confederations and associations. Each member has a four-year mandate with the ExCo meeting at least twice a year. With Asia’s reigning champions out in the cold, the meeting this week ahead of the draw for the 2010 World Cup finals promises to be interesting.