The final nail in the coffin


As I predicted almost three months ago, Abdul-Khaliq Masoud was named the new President of the Iraq Football Association earlier today and Al-Mulla claims he will rid the FA of corruption. The new saviour of Iraqi football?

This should be a call for celebration but anyone that has followed Iraqi football in the past ten years, will only feel that history is just repeating itself.

We’ve seen it all before. First it was Hussein Saeed, and his two ‘holey’ disciples Najih and Al-Mullah, and then the two vice presidents turned on their former president, and now Mullah did the same to Najih as he and Najih had done to Hussein Saeed.

Let us have a look at why so many people will look at this as a continuation of the harms of the FA from 2003 under Hussein Saeed and Najih Humoud. Abdul-Khaliq Masoud is part of the same lineage, in the ten years he has been in the FA he has worked the same, and I doubt he will do anything to return Iraqi football to the summit of Asian football.

This is the man that was head of the Iraq League fixture committee, while on the board of Arbil, he postponed games for his club to gain an advantage in the league title race for the past seven years.

This is a man that once turned to Akram Salman and told him to replace a forward. This is not a man of forward thinking. In his interviews with the Iraqi FA when he was the treasurer of the FA, he smiled and grinned when he stated that the Iraq FA had no contract with Adnan Hamad and Egil Olsen, as if it was something to be proud of. In retrospect that statement came back to bite him in the backside when Egil Olsen and his assistant Otto Ulseth complained to FIFA about their unpaid wages, and the FA were forced to pay the Norwegians their money.

If this is the saviour of the Iraq FA then God help us all.

The problem is not with the candidates but the general assembly of the Iraq FA itself, a group of self-interest driven persons, who look at Iraqi football as an amateur sport, they use as a full-time hobby, even travel the world in the tourist administration of the Iraq FA and have no desire or any will to go forward. They’re happy to stay at the level they are now, sitting like an old man in a rocking chair. The philosophy of our post-2003 generation of leaders.

Iraqi football is sliding into the abyss, there’s no planning at any level, nor is there any working relationship or communication between the main sports bodies, the Ministry of Youth, Iraqi Olympic Committee and the Iraq FA. The circumstances mirrors Iraq’s political situation, where parties or cliques continue wrangling (but continue to pick up their pay cheques) instigating only impasse in the political system, and seeing no progress whatsoever, this is the identical state of Iraqi football and sports in general.

The reason why I don’t see Abdul-Khaliq Masoud stirring Iraqi football away from corruption, tazweer and the rest of backward thinking prevalent in the Iraqi game, is that ‘If you wear Caesar’s clothes you must behave like Caesar’, and Al-Mulla over the past 10 years has not been an example of a man of principle and virtue. If you want to know about Al-Mullah’s credentials as a football president, read Hussein Saeed 2003-2011 or Najih Humoud 2011-2014. Use the media to spread lies and fabrications and when the truth comes out, deny, deny and deny. The manual of the previous football administration.

Even when Zico was stating the truth about his unpaid wages and the FA denied it, and posted the documents of the money transactions on their own website (confirming their guilt) and it only confirmed what Zico had stated that he had been short-changed by $500,000 US, the Iraq FA continued to deny it. This is the kind of people we’re dealing with. Outright idiots and liars that even if they are caught red-handed will deny it.

I remember someone once told me that an honest person wouldn’t be able to make it in Iraq, to carve out a life for himself or herself, only a cheat and a klawchi would be able to live in the current climate and survive, where the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth.

I have no hope for the generation born from 1930 to 1958, they’ve only proved to me their inability to find a solution to any problem, any kind of progression or bring ease to the lives of the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein, to Ibrahim Al-Jafari, Ayad Allawi, Nouri Al-Maliki, Barzani, Al-Hashimi, Talabani and …. (Who did I miss out?). These people only look for their own interests, and after 11 years they still can’t bring electricity and water or basic facilities to the ordinary people of Iraq, let alone bring peace and political stability to the country.

Al-Mullah’s four-year term will be the same as the 10 previous years. I sit and wait for a new dawn, no delusional media-hyped ‘Arab Spring’, but Thawra Haqiqiya.

This new Iraqi Football Association should not be given any leeway, if they make any mistakes they should be held accountable because this is not a ‘new’ administration, it has been working and conspiring for the past 10 years, it’s time this adolescent, ignorant and unapologetic child was disciplined by the Iraqi jumhour for its mistakes. Hold them to everything they do, don’t be deceived by a single victory for the national side, or the fraudulent Iraqi U-27 shabab team.

Look at the level of our local and international teams, are we near to reaching the levels of teams such as Japan, South Korea, Australia or Iran, have we even improved in the past 10 years or are we going backwards?

The first time I returned to Iraq after the fall of Saddam 10 years ago, I told myself that we won’t see any real progress in Iraq for another 50 years, so only 40 years to wait.

Surat Al-Fatiha

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Abdul-Khaliq Masoud is the new FA president


Abdul-Khaliq Masoud has been named the new President of the Iraq FA after beating rival Najih Humoud in an election held on Saturday afternoon.

The former vice president of the FA won 42 votes while Najih Humoud took only 33 out of 75 votes.

The Iraq FA elections won by Najih Humoud in 2011 were annulled by the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), with FIFA calling for elections after a month of the decision, which were expected to be held on January 20, however they were twice postponed.

In the first statement after winning the election, the new president stated “I thank everyone that supported me, whether it was within electoral conference or outside, every member who attended the elections despite the difficult circumstances that took place days before the election, and said it would not be a place for corruption in the FA and no place for anyone who does not work and must achieve justice in everything.”

He mentioned that he would fulfill his promise and the suspend its membership at Arbil, but after sitting down with the administration in respect that they had provided support to me as well, and my place will be in Baghdad, at the headquarters of the Iraqi Football Association.

“My candidacy for the office of President of the Federation came because of the great suffering and errors experienced by the work of the FA since it was elected in 2011, and thank God and from tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Board of Directors of the new FA, where there will be discussions of many of issues.”

Masoud stated that “the coming period will be a bit tricky through repair mistakes of our predecessors, especially with regard to the development of Iraqi League and benefits the national team and restructuring teams age groups and assign trainers are highly efficient and we will also be sitting down with coach Hakim Shaker for his next planning of ideas of the FA to the coach.”

Iraqi player injures himself celebrating Sergio Ramos’ goal


Iraqi footballer Walid Khalid suffered a serious head injury after wildly celebrating Real Madrid’s late equaliser in the Champions League final on Saturday.

In the celebrations the former Al-Zawraa player jumped high in the air, hitting his head on a ceiling fan and cutting his head open.

The player needed a total of 22 stitches to the wound.

I wish him a quick recovery.