Iraq: Baghdad the venue for soccer election

Iraq: Baghdad the venue for soccer election

Published Jul. 21, 2010 10:13 a.m. ET

An Iraqi government official says it insists the election of a new leadership for the Iraqi Football Association take place in Baghdad.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says the laws governing the country's sports federations state the vote should be in the capital, even though members of the association are expected to meet in the Kurdish city of Irbil on Saturday to choose a new president.

The world soccer governing body said in a statement Wednesday that it has requested the Iraqi association hold the election in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish Autonomous Region in northern Iraq.

Irbil has largely been untouched by sectarian violence unleashed elsewhere in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. FIFA said Irbil was safer than Baghdad for independent observers to monitor the vote.