HONG KONG/SEOUL: Iraq will send its football team to this month’s Asian Games in Indonesia despite speculation the country’s football federation will withdraw from the competition.
The Iraq Football Association (IFA) has been embroiled in controversy over the fielding of overage players in the country’s U16 team, prompting reports the federation was due to pull its representatives from the multi-sport event to be held in Indonesia. But a source at the IFA denied the team would be removed from the competition and said the squad’s preparations were being finalised following the completion of a training camp in the northern city of Erbil.
Iraq have been drawn to face China, Timor Leste and Syria in group C of the 26-team competition, which kicks off on August 10.
Squads are made up of players aged 23 or under with coaches permitted to include three overage players.
Earlier this week, football officials were reported to have been fired over their involvement in the selection of overage players for the nation’s U16 team after they were stopped at passport control on their way to a regional tournament.
Son released for full Asian Games under Spurs deal
Son Heung-min will miss South Korea’s first two matches at the Asian Cup in January under a compromise agreed with Tottenham Hotspur to release him for this month’s Asian Games, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said Wednesday.
The South Korean striker will fly to Indonesia for the Asian Games — where a gold medal is likely to win him exemption from military service — after Spurs’ Premier League season opener against Newcastle United on August 11, a KFA spokesman said.
Son, who is on Spurs’ pre-season tour of the United States, said he felt “sorry to be leaving my team-mates” for the Asian Games at the start of the Premier League season.
“I am playing for my country and that’s also important, but honestly I feel very sorry about that,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.