Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Kurdistan

Kurdistan Region hosts Iraq’s first international sporting event in 4 years

By Rudaw 22/5/2017
Players from Al-Zawraa prepare in Franso Hariri Stadium in Erbil.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Around 20,000 people from other parts of Iraq will flock to the capital of the Kurdistan Region on Monday night, as Erbil hosts Iraq’s first internationally sanctioned football match since 2013. 


Iraq’s Defending Cup champions Air Force Club will match against Al-Zawraa in the second-round match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

“We hope this match will be in line with both team’s levels in terms of support by fans and performance by the players in order to present a positive message to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). I also call on the fans to come and show great support for their team,” Air Force Club coach Basim Qassem told Rudaw.

Just 70 kilometers from war-torn Mosul, the sprawling metropolis of Erbil has been largely spared from the violence that engulfed much of Iraq, but getting fans from the two Baghdad-based clubs into the Kurdish capital poses a potential challenge with additional security screening.


“We are happy to play on the soil of Iraq, in particular Erbil. It is a crucial and decisive match between Al-Zawraa and Air Force Club.  Winning this match will lead any team to reach the top of the Iraqi Premier League. Wining in this match will also help boost psychological conditions of our players,” Al-Zawraa player Loai Salah told Rudaw.

FIFA, the world’s football governing body had banned Iraq from hosting international football matches for nearly four years due to the rise of ISIS and anti-ISIS efforts.

However, FIFA lifted the ban earlier this month and the AFC has agreed to allow the first match since 2013 to be hosted in the safety of Erbil.

FIFA is imposing a three-month trial period in the country to ensure that the country can organize and host football matches according to international standards.

Staff at Erbil’s Franso Hariri Stadium are preparing for upwards of 20,000 fans. Iraq's Ministry of Youth and Sports announced that it would cover travel expenses for 1,000 fans from each of the two clubs, which have hired buses to transport supporters to see the match.


Kurdish authorities have planned to spend an estimated $100 million in the coming years to revive and develop an industry which many believe will be profitable in the long-run.

According to the Kurdish union of hotels and restaurants there are nearly 4,000 guesthouses, eateries, and vacation sites in the Kurdistan Region which primarily earn their revenues through holidaymakers who had come in their thousands in the past. Many new hotels and holiday facilities were built over the past few years to attract more guests from south and central Iraq who often vacationed in the Kurdish north’s cool temperatures in the summer months.

But the double shock of plummeting oil prices and the ISIS war hit the hotel industry hard as tourists increasingly chose to stay away.

“I think the tide has turned in our favor now,” Malawi Jabar, the Director of the Kurdistan Tourism Board previously told Rudaw. “Most hotels and motels have already been booked ahead of this summer’s holiday season, which are great signs.”

Comments

 
Muraz Adzhoev | 22/5/2017
There is no "soil of Iraq" in Southern Kurdistan, in particular in Erbil. Kurdistan hosts the international sporting event in Erbil.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Carl | 10/17/2017 8:21:00 PM
I like you kurds. But for an outsider your beloved Army is not a national Army. It is two Armies, even three or four. Maybe more? That is not a...
chris | 10/17/2017 8:22:00 PM
The eyes of the world are watching this. There has never been more sympathy towards the Kurdish people than there is right now.
Barzani: Blood of the martyrs, calls for independence are ‘not wasted’
| yesterday at 06:37 | (18)
Nihad | 10/17/2017 8:17:57 PM
Thanks to all fools parties kurdish people also well be displace is sad those peshmerga who lost lives for no reasons all peshmerga should just put...
UN: Thousands of people displaced from Kirkuk
| yesterday at 11:02 | (1)
Ps | 10/17/2017 5:44:15 PM
This is why kurds never got a country. Bcoz we dnt have politicians. We have clan leaders. Erdogan might be bad for kurds but at least he is good for...
xthat | 10/17/2017 7:30:37 PM
Pro-Iranian Shiite militias were the spearhead of the operation, fighting under the direct command of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Gen. Qassem...
President Barzani to publish statement post-Kirkuk crisis, avoid 'civil war'
| yesterday at 01:02 | (30)
Sadiky | 10/17/2017 6:55:40 PM
Mr . Abadi, you mean Iran will impose federal authority not Iraq , you run a boat with no campus, sailing as the wind blows.... puppet show!!
Hejar | 10/17/2017 7:24:15 PM
Way to go Abadi! You outplayed all of the sad Kurdish leadership. Please put all of them on trial for treason! Wr would thankyou for it. Destèt the...
Iraqi PM: Kurdistan referendum is over, belongs in the past
| yesterday at 09:32 | (2)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

PUK leader: Kurdistan faces real threat of civil war 12 hours ago |

PUK leader: Kurdistan faces real threat of civil war

A split in Kurdistan “is expected to cause civil more
Kurds continue to flee Kirkuk as violence mounts at hands of Hashd al-Shaabi 13 hours ago |

Kurds continue to flee Kirkuk as violence mounts at hands of Hashd al-Shaabi

Shiite militants stormed Kurdish neighborhoods, more
0.453 seconds