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FIFA says Iraq unsafe to host World Cup qualifying games

/ 03:33 PM November 07, 2019

FILE – Iraq’s starting eleven pose for a group picture during the World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C qualification football match between Iraq and Hong Kong at the Basra International stadium in the Iraqi city on October 10, 2019. (Photo by Hussein FALEH / AFP)

ZURICH — FIFA says Iraq is not safe enough to host World Cup qualifying games against Iran and Bahrain.

FIFA says it asked the Iraq soccer federation “to nominate a neutral venue” for the matches on Nov. 14 and 19.

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The games were to be played in Basra, the southern city which hosted Iraq’s return last month to playing competitive games at home.

Iraq has rarely staged home games since the 1980s because of security concerns.

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Turmoil in Iraq in recent weeks has been fueled by economic problems and dissatisfaction with Iran’s political influence on its neighbor.

Iraq’s 2-0 win over Hong Kong in Basra last month left the national team at the top of its five-team qualifying group. Two teams advance to the next round of Asian qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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TAGS: fifa world cup qualifying, Football, Hong Kong, Iraq, Sports
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