Inside Iraq

The future of Iraqi football

Who will lead the Iraqi Football Association?

Iraq is plagued by sectarian tension but one thing that is almost guaranteed to unite all Iraqis is their passion for football.

Iraq’s Asian Cup victory in 2007 spread jubilation across the nation, but Iraqis rarely have an opportunity to celebrate events like those, because the politics inside the Iraq football association bizarrely mimic the political picture at national level.

Like the power struggle in the Iraqi parliament, the battle within the Iraqi Football Association (IFA) has seen two men facing off, one from the old, Sunni bloc, the other favoured by the ruling Shiite bloc; Like parliament, an election to fill the top seat was also postponed this week.

And all the while, an external power, in this case FIFA, has been standing in judgement over the whole situation, and threatening to walk away from the country entirely, excommunicating the Iraq team from the global game.

On this week’s show, Teymoor Nabili will be talking football with one of Iraq’s national heroes Ahmad Radhi, a spokesman for the government, Ali al Dabbargh, and Al Jazeera sports journalist Ammar Nameq.

This episode of Inside Iraq can be seen from Friday, July 30, at the following times GMT: Friday: 1730, 2230; Saturday: 0300, 0830; Sunday: 0600, 1230; Monday: 0130.