Authorities in Baghdad International Airport have detained twelve Iraqi U-17 players for attempting to travel with forged documents. The team was travelling to Jordan in order to participate in the U-17 WAFF Championship, of which Iraq are the defending champions. The move to detain players has sent shockwaves across the Iraqi sporting scene, and fans and journalists alike have been protesting the use of alleged overage players in the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia.
Reports are also circulating that FIFA have received documents showing the Iraq FA’s complacency with age fraud since 2011, and additional reports from Baghdad claim that the Iraq FA will halt all participations in youth competitions until further notice, meaning Iraq could withdraw from the Asian Games which are set to start in September.
As for the fate of the U-17 team, the twelve detained players have been banned for life from representing Iraq on any level. Similar rulings were made for head coach Ali Hadi and his coaching staff, as well as team manager Ali Wahaib. In a statement to the Iraqi Soccer Network, Hadi denied responsibility for the incident, claiming that all the documents were checked by an FA committee and that he has been used as a scapegoat.
For more developments on the situation, follow @SoccerIraq on Twitter.