ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Despite continued preparations for the new season by several clubs, the Kurdistan Region's Premier League date has not been set due to the current military and political situation in Iraq.
The Kurdistan Football Association has not yet fixed a date for the launch of the 2017-2018 football league due to ongoing assaults by the Iraqi army and the Hashd al-Shaabi on disputed areas, where at least two participating clubs are located.
Since the events of Oct. 16 and the takeover of Kirkuk by the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi forces, the Kirkuk Football Club and North Oil Club have been unable to convene and start preparing for the new season.
Dilshad Salih, the spokesperson of the Kurdistan Football Association while speaking to Kurdistan 24 on Saturday, confirmed that the main reason for the delays was the current political and military conflict between the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
"We have suspended all our activities due to the current situation," Salih said, clarifying that although the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is in a difficult financial situation, it has never been an obstacle.
Due to the delays, many of the participating clubs have suspended their training while others reluctantly continue with their preparations.
The Kurdistan Premier League typically begins in October of every year.
Samir Babo, the coach of the Hawler Peshmerga Club, whose team was the 2016-2017 league winners, was worried the season had not yet started, but vower his team would be ready for the new season.
Due to the current instability, the Kurdistan Football Association also suspended Futsal league, which had already started, as well as the Youth League and Kurdistan’s 1st Division League which were scheduled to begin in November.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Darbaz Ahmed from Kurdistan 24's Sports Desk contributed to this report)