- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BAGHDAD _ The Iraqi government says it did not order a recent raid on the offices of the country’s soccer federation.

International soccer’s ruling body warned Baghdad not to meddle in the federation’s affairs ahead of elections for a new president this week.

Men in military-style uniforms who appeared at the federation’s offices Sunday with arrest warrants for senior soccer officials were not acting in an official capacity, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press. No law enforcement agency authorized the raid and a committee will investigate, he added.

“There were no instructions from any official agency to carry out this raid,” al-Dabbagh said.

Members of the Iraqi Football Association are to meet in the Kurdish city of Irbil on Saturday to choose a new president.

In a statement Tuesday, FIFA urged Iraqi authorities “not to interfere in the process” and allow the association to hold the election.

“FIFA would like to recall that any governmental interference in the electoral process is subject to statutory measures which can include a suspension,” the statement said.

Last year, FIFA suspended Iraq’s federation for political meddling in the association’s affairs. The suspension was lifted in March.