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FIFA gives Iraq officials extra year in power
“This is the best solution to be adopted,” Iraqi Football Association secretary general Tariq Ahmed told the Associated Press. “We have many activities to take part in. If sanctions had been taken, all these rights will be gone.”
“This deadline should allow both groups to settle their differences and to thus permit the election of a new board,” FIFA said in a statement.
A scheduled poll was canceled last month when a Sunni faction supporting current IFA president Hussein Saeed met in Irbil, claiming it was too dangerous to travel to Baghdad, where backers of Shiite challenger Falah Hassan had gathered. Iraq's government insisted on holding it in Baghdad as a way of showing the country is stable after years of war.
FIFA rules prohibit government meddling in football affairs, and a federation’s national team, clubs and officials face suspension from taking part in international matches and meetings even if they are not at fault for the interference.
It has dropped to 104th in the FIFA world rankings after being No. 58 two years ago.
Last month, the IFA signed German coach Wolfgang Sidka to guide it through the Asian Cup, which is to be played in Qatar.
Iraq is scheduled to play friendly matches in September against Yemen and Palestine in Amman, Jordan. It will begin its Asian Cup defense in a group with Iran, North Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
Associated Press writer Hamid Ahmed contributed from Baghdad.
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