FIFA in Basra to review ban on Iraq hosting international football matches

FIFA in Basra to review ban on Iraq hosting international football matches
The team of FIFA representatives headed to Basra on Monday and will consider the city's 'preparedness', plus 'the security situation for various Iraqi cities', Iraq's sports minister explained.
2 min read
28 September, 2021
Basra is home to Iraq's national side's ground [Getty]

World football governing body FIFA sent representatives to the major Iraqi port city of Basra on Monday to see if international matches can be held there again.

Iraq has not been allowed to host such games since widespread protests erupted in 2019, The New Arab's Arabic sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, reported.

The FIFA team's visit to the southern city followed a request from Iraqi Youth and Sports Minister Adnan Dirjal, who also heads the Iraqi Football Association, to FIFA chief Gianni Infantino for a review of conditions.


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The Iraqi minister explained: "The purpose of the committee's visit to Basra is to determine the preparedness of the stadiums and the rest of the city's facilities, in addition to assessing the security situation for various Iraqi cities."

This will mean the committee "submitting its final report to the international federation [FIFA] after the completion of its visit. The committee consists of three individuals", Dirjal continued.

The FIFA team will spend four days in the country and then decide whether to reverse the ban.

Iraq is set to play key matches in the coming weeks against countries including Lebanon and the UAE in its campaign to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA has repeatedly enforced restrictions on Iraq's ability to hold international football matches, due to the security situation in the country.

In 2018, Iraq hosted its first international club match for decades when local side Al-Zawraa played Lebanon's Al-Ahed in Karbala.