Up-and-coming Iraq international striker Mohanad Ali and wing-back Ali Adnan Kadhim are among 72 players who are reportedly suspended from the Iraq national team over age fraud.
Forging of birth certificates is nothing new in Iraqi football, but the most recent age fraud scandal is signalling a crisis for the Iraq national team with the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers just around the corner.
Names of 72 players who the Integrity Commission has asked the Iraq FA for official documents. Includes Mohanad Ali, Alaa Abbas, Ayman Hussein, Saad Natiq, Bashar Resan, Humam Tariq, Mohammed Dawud, Jalal Hassan, Mazin Fayadh, Mohammed Hamed and Ali Adnan. pic.twitter.com/RSOxyHYPJ9
— Hassanin Mubarak (@hassaninmubarak) June 22, 2019
According to football writer Hassanin Mubarak, the Integrity Commission looking into the forging of documents in Iraqi football have asked the Iraq Football Association to suspend 72 players suspected of age fraud from playing for the national team.
This list includes several high-profile names including that of Mohanad, who was one of the stars for the Lions of Mesopotamia at the AFC Asian Cup 2019, as well as Ali Adnan, who currently plays for Major League Soccer (MLS) side Vancouver Whitecaps FC on loan from Udinese.
Another age fraud scandal hits Iraqi football. Iraq’s coach Katanec is reportedly refusing to sign an extension if 12 key players are barred from playing international football on the suspicion of forging documents to alter their ages. https://t.co/ZwFQWswuT9
— Ahdaaf (@Ahdaaf_ME) June 22, 2019
Others facing suspension include Al Zawraa SC’s 21-year-old Alaa Abbas who is the second highest goal scorer in the AFC Champions League 2019 with six goals, Esteghlal FC winger Humam Tariq and Persepolis FC’s Bashar Resan.
With his squad likely to miss a string of key players for the World Cup and Asian Cup joint-qualifiers starting in September, it is also being reported that Iraq head coach Srecko Katanec has refused to negotiate an extension of his contract.