FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers: Football's governing body clears Iraq to host matches in Basra

The Associated Press

Zurich: FIFA says the southern Iraqi city of Basra can host the national team's return to playing World Cup qualifying games at home.

Security concerns since the 1980s have forced Iraq to host most qualifiers in neutral countries. Iraq played "home" games in Iran, Jordan and Malaysia in a failed attempt to reach the 2018 tournament.

FIFA says "following a security assessment by a FIFA delegation" Basra can stage games in qualifying for the 2022 edition.

Iraq hosts Hong Kong on 10 October, likely at the 65,000-capacity Basra Sports City stadium.

Top-ranked Iran visits on 14 November.

Iraq's group in the current phase of qualifying also includes Bahrain  and Cambodia.

Amid widespread pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong against China's rule, FIFA says it is "closely monitoring the situation" ahead of the national team's 10 September qualifier against Iran.

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