A strange saga is going on right now as the Iraqi government seems to have disbanded its sports organizations, including, at least according to FIFA, the Iraqi Football Association (IFA). Executives at FIFA have decided to suspend Iraq and the FIFA Congress will meet on May 30th to decide whether to suspend Iraq for a year.
It seems that the original announcement from the Iraqi Sports Ministry was a bit confusing and now the head of the IFA has appealed to FIFA claiming that the disbanding only included a part of the Iraqi Olympic Committee and has no effect on the IFA. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, but Iraq may also be facing punishment from the IOC, including the possibility of being barred from participating in this year's Olympics.
Of course, in World Cup Qualifying, Iraq is in the same group as China. During their qualifying match in February, China struggled to earn a point off Iraq. If Iraq is suspended, it will mean the group will only consist of 3 teams, making China's road somewhat easier (or at least more defined) and will require success in their matches against Qatar, the first of which is a road fixture to be played this Sunday (June 1st). Australia, who will be more or less assured qualifying if Iraq is dropped, is set to lose almost US$3 million if their match against Iraq, scheduled for this Saturday, is canceled.
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Iraq Suspended From International Competition