Iraq says to host World Cup qualifier as FIFA lifts ban

Iraq and the United Arab Emirates will play their 2022 World Cup qualifier in Baghdad after FIFA lifted its years-long ban on matches within the war-scarred nation, Iraqi officers stated Sunday.

The match scheduled for March 24 was to be performed in Amman, Jordan, or Qatar, as a result of world soccer’s governing physique FIFA had forbidden matches in Iraq over safety considerations.

“We acquired on Sunday an official notification from FIFA confirming the lifting of the ban for all Iraqi stadiums,” Ahmed al-Moussaoui, spokesman for the Iraqi Soccer Affiliation, advised AFP.

“Sooner or later we will host matches both in Al-Madina Stadium within the capital” or at different stadiums, Moussaoui stated.

In January, Baghdad’s packed Al-Madina Stadium hosted a pleasant between the Iraqi staff and Uganda. That was the primary worldwide match within the capital since Liberia visited in 2013, when the ban took impact, FIFA stated on its web site.

“FIFA formally agreed to holding a match between our nationwide staff and the Emirati facet at Al-Madina Stadium”, Adnan Dirjal, Minister of Youth and Sport, stated on Sunday.

Dirjal, additionally president of the Iraqi Soccer Affiliation, stated in a press release that the competition might be an Asia zone qualifier for this 12 months’s World Cup in Qatar.

Iraqi authorities have been working relentlessly for months to welcome worldwide matches and to get the FIFA ban lifted.

Baghdad can also be witnessing a fledgling cultural renaissance with e book gala’s and artwork exhibitions, although violence nonetheless typically shakes town.

FIFA stated it briefly lifted its prohibition in 2019 for a World Cup qualifier when Iraq hosted Hong Kong, however reimposed it shortly afterwards.

“Within the meantime, they’ve continued to play some pleasant matches at house, within the metropolis of Basra however have needed to stage World Cup qualifiers in Doha,” FIFA stated.

Iraq’s nationwide and membership sides have been pressured to make use of stadiums overseas for his or her worldwide house video games, as native services have fallen into disrepair within the nation rocked by a long time of battle.

Nonetheless, along with the 32,000-seat Al-Madina there are different services that may host worldwide competitions: In Arbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdish area; the southern metropolis of Basra, whose 65,000-seat facility is the nation’s largest; and Karbala, which might maintain 30,000 followers and is probably the most fashionable.

Iraq has certified solely as soon as for the World Cup finals, in 1986, although it received the Asian Cup in 2007.

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