Asian Football Confederation Warns Iraq Government Over Gulf Cup Criticism
The Asian Football Confederation has warned the Iraq government "to stay out of football matters after they withdrew the national team from the Gulf Cup in frustration at being stripped of hosting rights," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. Iraqi PM Nouri Al Maliki used his weekly televised speech on Wednesday to describe the snub as "prejudiced against the rights of the Iraqi people." The withdrawal of the team for the tournament, which is due to be held at the end of '14 or in early '15, "comes after Bahrain stepped in to host this year's edition after Iraq were originally selected." The AFC said in a statement on Thursday, "Both FIFA and AFC do not tolerate any interference in football matters by the government or any other bodies and AFC would like to ask them to stay away in the interest of Iraqi football" (REUTERS, 10/10).