Iraqi govt says it didn't sanction raid on FA
The Iraqi government said Tuesday it did not sanction a recent raid on the Iraqi Football Association's offices, while FIFA warned Baghdad not to meddle in the federation's affairs ahead of elections for a new president later this week.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said men in military-style uniforms who appeared on Sunday at the federation's offices with arrest warrants for senior football officials were not acting in an official capacity. No law enforcement agency authorized the raid and a committee will look into the incident, al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press.
''There were no instructions from any official agency to carry out this raid,'' al-Dabbagh said.
Members of the Iraqi Football Association are to meet in the northern city of Irbil on Saturday to choose a new president.
In a statement Tuesday, FIFA called on Iraqi authorities ''not to interfere in the process'' and allow the association to hold the election.
''FIFA would like to recall that any governmental interference in the electoral process is subject to statutory measures which can include a suspension,'' the statement from football's governing body said.
Last year, FIFA suspended Iraq's federation for political meddling in the association's affairs. The suspension was lifted in March.