FIFA calls for new elections

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Football’s world governing body FIFA has told Iraq’s embattled football association to hold leadership elections by January after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled the last vote invalid, an Iraqi football official said.

“On Friday, we received an official notice from FIFA recommending the new elections be held on January 20,” Iraqi Football Association (IFA) Vice President Abdul-Khaliq Masoud told AFP.

“We are waiting for additional recommendations from both FIFA and the Asian association regarding the supervision of these elections,” he added, referring to the Asian Football Confederation.

FIFA’s request follows contested IFA elections in 2011.

The football governing body subsequently issued a statement clarifying that they were merely asking IFA to respect the decision made by CAS.

“The Court of Arbitration for Sport… ruled that the Iraqi Football Association (IFA) elections held on 18 June 2011 are invalid, null and void and new elections have to be organized by the IFA Executive Committee as soon as possible,” said the FIFA statement sent to AFP.

“Under art. 68.2 of the IFA Statutes, IFA is obligated to ensure its full compliance with decisions of CAS. Accordingly, FIFA has requested the IFA to implement the decision of CAS as soon as possible and by no later than 20 January 2014.”

Switzerland-based CAS made its decision after claimants alleged multiple problems with IFA’s last leadership elections in June 2011.

The claims were made by IFA general committee members including defeated candidate Falah Hassan, and ranged from accusations that IFA failed to hold a preparatory meeting prior to the elections and violated FIFA rules regarding the election of new committee members.

As a result, CAS mandated that IFA hold new elections by January 20 for the 11-member executive committee, which includes the president and two vice presidents — an order supported by FIFA.

IFA is currently headed by Najih Humoud, who won the disputed 2011 elections over Hassan, a candidate who was unofficially backed by the government.

Although FIFA insists that football must be free of politics, in Iraq politics permeates nearly everything, especially football.

In July, FIFA barred Iraq from hosting international football friendlies due to a surge in violence, reversing a decision three months earlier to allow the country to host such matches.

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