PtG Article 16.12.2009

FIFA's Iraq ban has no impact

FIFA’s international ban on Iraq late last month and ratified at the recent executive committee meeting in Cape Town has had no impact according to the Ahrar Party, which will go into the 2010 election’s to the country’s council of representatives on an anti-corruption mandate.

"Sadly there has been no progress within Iraq since the suspension. FIFA do not seem to understand that what Iraq needs more than anything is reconciliation and unity amongst the various religious faiths,” an Ahrar spokesman told Play the Game.

“Football is the only thing within the country that encourages that and brings the people together. The suspension of Iraq by FIFA is a tragedy and an extermination of one of the few remaining chances of hope within the country. We understand that FIFA did not necessarily intend this but the people responsible for the problems within Iraq are the Iranian controlled corrupt politicians, not the people of Iraq. Punish them, not the football team.”The Iraq Olympic Committee dissolved the country’s football association in late November and stormed its headquarters using armed personnel.FIFA gave the IOC 72 hours to re-instate the Iraq Football Association and when this deadline was ignored, Iraq – the reigning Asian champions - were sent into international exile – a decision ratified by FIFA at its Cape Town congress on December 3-4.