FIFA says Iraq unsafe to host World Cup qualifying games
ZURICH (AP) — FIFA says Iraq is not safe enough to host World Cup qualifying games against Iran and Bahrain.
FIFA says it asked the Iraq soccer federation “to nominate a neutral venue” for the matches on Nov. 14 and 19.
The games were to be played in Basra, the southern city which hosted Iraq’s return last month to playing competitive games at home.
Iraq has rarely staged home games since the 1980s because of security concerns.
Turmoil in Iraq in recent weeks has been fueled by economic problems and dissatisfaction with Iran’s political influence on its neighbor.
Iraq’s 2-0 win over Hong Kong in Basra last month left the national team at the top of its five-team qualifying group. Two teams advance to the next round of Asian qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.