Iraq forced to play qualifiers away

Iraq will be forced to play their remaining qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup and 2012 Olympics at a neutral venue after FIFA deemed the country unsafe.

Football News: Iraq

Football's governing body confirmed the action in a letter to the Iraq Football Association, according to the official Asian Football Confederation website.

The official report on the World Cup qualifier against Jordan, which took place on September 2 at the Francouse Al Hariri Stadium in Arbil, underlined that conditions foreseen under Art. 20 Par. 1 of the FIFA regulations 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil were not respected, while the Iraq FA's security plan did not satisfy the structural, technical, organisational and operational requirement outlined in FIFA Safety Regulations.

The letter also cited general security concerns, meaning Iraq will now have to play all remaining qualifiers at a neutral venue until further notice. They have until October 1 to nominate a ground for World Cup games and October 3 for the Olympic matches, which also cannot be the stadium of any of their opponents.

Iraq currently lie third in Group A of the third qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after they followed the 2-0 defeat to Jordan with a 2-0 victory in Singapore. Their next game is against China on October 11 in Shenzhen.

The Olympic team, meanwhile, lost their opening Group B game to Uzbekistan 2-0 in Tashkent and are next due to face Australia on November 23 in a designated home tie.

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