UAE vs Iraq match moved to Am­man from Tehran

New Straits Times - - Sport -

TEHRAN: Iraq’s World Cup qual­i­fier against the United Arab Emi­rates next month has been moved to the Jor­da­nian cap­i­tal Am­man from Tehran, an Iraq Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (IFA) spokesman told Reuters on Thurs­day.

Iraq have played the ma­jor­ity of their home matches in the fi­nal phase of Asia’s qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment for next year’s World Cup in Rus­sia in Iran due to se­cu­rity con­cerns over host­ing games on home soil.

The UAE’s foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion, how­ever, re­quested that the Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion switch the Sept. 5 en­counter from the PAS Sta­dium in the Ira­nian cap­i­tal. The IFA spokesman said no rea­son was given for the switch away from Tehran.

Iraq have played three of their home matches - against Ja­pan, Aus­tralia and Thai­land - in Iran while their meet­ing with Saudi Ara­bia last year was held in Malaysia.

Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE are close al­lies and both have strained re­la­tions with Iran.

Global gov­ern­ing body Fifa re­cently al­lowed Iraq to play friendly matches in the south­ern Iraqi city of Basra, but that ap­proval does not ex­tend to com­pet­i­tive fix­tures.

With two rounds of World Cup qual­i­fiers to be played, Iraq have no chance of reach­ing the tour­na­ment fi­nals. The UAE need to beat Iraq and Saudi Ara­bia on Aug. 29 to main­tain any hope of se­cur­ing their first World Cup ap­pear­ance since 1990. Reuters

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