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James Corbett, Inside World Football


Saturday, September 24, 2011

FIFA bans Iraq from playing qualifiers at home


World soccer body FIFA has banned Iraq from playing 2014 World Cup and 2012 Olympics qualifiers on home ground on Iraqi territory because of flaws in the country’s security arrangements.

In a letter citing security concerns published on the website of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), FIFA advised Iraq that it would have to play “until further notice” its home matches in a neutral venue.

FIFA noted that "the security plan established by the local organizing committee (for Iraq's September 2 third round World Cup qualifier against Jordan in Arbil) did not meet the structural, technical, organizational and operational requirement specified in FIFA Safety Regulations."

As a result, Iraq’s Brazilian coach Zico has to identify a neutral venue for its home qualifiers by early October.

Iraq ranks third in Group A of the AFC's Brazil 2014 qualifiers with three points from two matches. Jordan and China are ahead of them while Singapore sits at the bottom of the group.

Iraq’s next World Cup home matches are on October against China and February 29, 2012 against Iraq. Its coming Olympics qualifier is November 23 against Australia.

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