World Cup 2014 news

Iraq banned from playing at home

September 23, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Iraq have been told to play their home qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup and the 2012 London Olympics at a neutral venue by FIFA.

Iraq fans
GettyImagesIraq fans cheer on their side

FIFA wrote to the Iraq Football Association to raise questions over security after a breach of safety regulations in their qualifier with Jordan earlier this month. The crowd appeared well over capacity and there was a power cut during the match, so the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has now banned Iraq from hosting games.

Iraq will have to nominate a neutral ground in Asia for the World Cup by October 1 and Olympics qualifiers by October 3 but it should not be one of the countries that Iraq is playing against in the qualifiers.

They are currently third in Group A of Asian qualifiers with three points from two matches, three adrift of Jordan and behind China on goal difference after two rounds. Singapore are the fourth team in the group.

In the Olympics qualifiers, Iraq lost their Group B opener to Uzbekistan 2-0 and face Australia and the UAE next.