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Soldiers raid Iraq federation, league suspended

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-07-18 18:21:29
Soldiers raid Iraq federation, league suspended

BAGHDAD: Soldiers raided the Iraqi Football Association offices on Sunday, less than a week before IFA elections to be overseen by world football`s governing body FIFA, an IFA official said.

Around 20 soldiers arrived at the head offices in Baghdad with an arrest warrant on corruption charges for association head Hussein Said and three other senior IFA officials.

"None of them were present and the soldiers left after half an hour," the official said, asking not to be named.

Later Sunday, the federation suspended the domestic championship in response to the raid.

"The IFA announces the indefinite suspension of the championship to protect its members following the raid on its offices by the army," said a statement.

The IFA also demanded the government open an inquiry into the incident

FIFA has sent two representatives to observe IFA elections for a new executive board next Saturday in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil, but the government wants the contest to be held in Baghdad.

On March 19, FIFA lifted its suspension on the IFA after a solution was found to a spat over alleged government interference.

The IFA was suspended in November 2009 after Iraqi police seized control of its offices and its governing board was dissolved on charges of links to executed dictator Saddam Hussein.

FIFA had called for the members of the association`s executive committee to be reinstated, although the Iraqi authorities have been trying to expel Said because of his ties with the former regime.

Football is highly popular in Iraq, boosted by the national side`s victory in the 2007 Asian Nations Cup

BDST: 1552 hrs, July 19, 2010

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