Iraq to host first international football tournament in three decades

INA – Baghdad

Iraq is set to host West Asia Football Federation championship in November in the southern city of Basra, the first international tournament to be staged in the country since the 1990s.

Iraqi PM Haidar Abadi late on Sunday hailed WAFF’s invitation to host the tournament, following the decision in March of world football’s governing body FIFA to lift a three-decade ban on Iraq hosting international football.

Basra is set to host the tournament between 12 Arab countries.

For years, Iraq has been busily building and upgrading stadiums and campaigning for its return to the international fold.

FIFA’s decision followed an international friendly match between Iraq and Saudi Arabia in Basra on February 28.

Iraq has not played competitive internationals on home turf since 1990.

The ban, covering all but domestic matches, stayed in place after 2003.

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