Iraqi clubs told to control their fans

AFP, Wednesday 23 Mar 2011

The Iraqi Football Federation (IFF) said on Wednesday that it will take action against clubs that do not take steps to stop fans from hurling political, religious or racist insults during games

iraqi clubs suppoters

"The federation will take serious action against clubs that let their supporters use the games to attack political or religious personalities," IFF vice-president Najeh Hmoud said in a statement sent to AFP.

"It is wrong that fans criticise the team from Arbil on the pretext that it is Kurdish, and mock teams from Mosul or other cities," he said.

Clubs from the Sunni-majority city of Mosul in nothern Iraq face taunts that they support Al-Qaeda when they plan in Baghdad, while clubs from the Kurdish cities of of Dohuk, Erbil and Zakho often receive racist abuse.

Recently, fans from Najaf in southern Iraq accused the Hindiya team from the city of Karbala of being in the pay of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is from Karbala.

"We don't want to sully football with such slogans, and clubs must control their supporters and encourage them to respect the stadiums," Hmoud said.

"The Iraqis can see from games in other countries that such attitudes do not exist there."

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