asian news

AFC boss criticises Olympic committee for Iraq ban

December 2, 2009

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam criticised the Iraq Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday for their country's suspension by FIFA.

The Iraq Football Association (IFA) was suspended by FIFA in November because of government interference after the Iraq Olympic Committee (IOC) disbanded the IFA and security forces seized control of the association's headquarters.

"I am... in support of the Iraq Football Association (IFA) and condemn the actions of the Iraq Olympic Committee in interfering with their independence," Bin Hammam told the AFC website.

"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 is the Iraq Football Association."

The IOC said they were working on an appeal with lawyers to overturn the ban which means the Asian Cup champions cannot play any internationals, friendly or competitive, and Iraqi clubs cannot play foreign opposition.