Iraq suspension provisionally lifted

Asian champions Iraq will be able to continue their bid to reach the World Cup finals after FIFA lifted a suspension on a provisional basis on Thursday.

The Iraqi Football Association (IFA) were threatened with a one-year ban, if, by midnight Sydney time (1600 CET) on Thursday, FIFA had not received official confirmation that the Iraq government had overturned an earlier decree.

The IFA, along with the country’s Olympic committee and all other sporting bodies, was dissolved by the Iraqi government last week prompting FIFA’s ruling.

However, on Tuesday, FIFA received a letter from the General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Iraq, confirming that the IFA had been “excluded” from the decree.

In a statement, FIFA described the letter as “a positive step” but the world governing body, who are in Sydney for FIFA’s annual congress, still have misgivings.

“It does not fully answer all of FIFA’s concerns about the governmental attempts to control the Iraqi federations and the Iraqi National Olympic Committee,” the statement read.

FIFA will seek to meet with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the IFA and representatives of the Iraqi government in Zurich as soon as possible to clarify all outstanding issues and reserve the right to re-impose the suspension immediately.

The meetings will also be used “to ensure that the Olympic Charter is applied to the entire Iraqi Olympic and sporting movement”.

The ruling means Iraq will be able to meet Australia in Brisbane on Sunday in qualifying Group One.

Adnan Hamad’s side are currently bottom of the standings after a 1-1 draw with China and a 2-0 defeat to Qatar.

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