ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Wednesday said it revoked the licenses of three Iraqi football clubs for unpaid salaries to players and staff members.
In a letter to the Iraqi Football Association (IFA), AFC Director Shin Man Gil informed the association that it had received “numerous complaints” against three Iraqi teams (Al Talaba, Al Mina’a, and Al Najaf) “regarding the existing overdue payables toward their employees.”
As a result, Asian football’s governing body said it would not grant the three clubs “a license to participate in the AFC and IFA competitions,” noting the payment of players and staff is “mandatory.”
“In the event that any licensing decisions are made in violation of the AFC Club Licensing Regulations, the AFC shall be left with no other option than to reject such licensing decision and refer the matter to the relevant AFC judicial bodies for their appropriate action,” the letter read.
The AFC’s decision comes at a time when FIFA, world football’s governing body, has allowed Iraq to play international qualification matches for the 2022 World Cup at home at the Basra Sports City Stadium.
The decision was made following a successful 2019 West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Championship in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region—the first major international tournament held in the region since the 1991 Gulf War.
In a letter to the IFA on Tuesday, FIFA warned it could overturn its decision to approve home matches being played in Iraq subject to security concerns.