August 1, 2018 / 7:42 AM / in 10 months

Iraq not withdrawing from Asian Games football - source

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Iraq will send its football team to this month’s Asian Games in Indonesia despite speculation the country’s football federation will withdraw from the competition.

The Iraq Football Association (IFA) has been embroiled in controversy over the fielding of overage players in the country’s under-16 team, prompting reports the federation was due to pull its representatives from the multi-sport event to be held in Indonesia.

But a source at the IFA denied the team would be removed from the competition and said the squad’s preparations were being finalised following the completion of a training camp in the northern city of Erbil.

Iraq have been drawn to face China, Timor Leste and Syria in group C of the 26-team competition, which kicks off on Aug. 10. Squads are made up of players aged 23 or under with coaches permitted to include three overage players.

Earlier this week, football officials were reported to have been fired over their involvement in the selection of overage players for the nation’s under-16 team after they were stopped at passport control on their way to a regional tournament.

Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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