ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region’s Football Association on Thursday announced the start of the twelfth Kurdistan Premier League season amid a challenging financial situation.
Nine clubs will participate in the 2018 Kurdistan Premier League season—which kicked off on Thursday—after five teams pulled out, a Kurdistan FA statement said.
There were many changes as some clubs were forced to withdraw due to budget issues as well as the ongoing political disputes between Erbil and Baghdad.
Sirwani Newe said they would not participate in this season’s league due to financial issues.
Meanwhile, Kirkuk and North Oil Company clubs are unable to participate due to the presence of the Iraqi army and Hashd al-Shaabi in the disputed areas outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) administration, where the two clubs are based.
In an official statement, Safin Kanabi, Head of the Kurdistan Football Association, admitted that organizing this year’s season “proved to be very difficult due to the financial crisis facing the Kurdistan Region.”
Results from the first round of the Kurdistan Premier League:
Last season was record-breaking for some clubs as Hawler Peshmerga Football Club won the 2017 Kurdistan Premier League for the first time in its history despite a draw with Kirkuk Football Club in the final match of the season.
The first Kurdistan Premier League season was held in 2006-07 and saw Dohuk Football Club crowned champions.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany