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Iraqi Football Fans Crushed Outside A Stadium Killing One And Injuring Sixty

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Iraqi football fans crushed outside a stadium killing one and injuring sixty. This happened on Thursday in the southern Iraqi city of Basra when Iraq beat Oman 3-2 to win the Gulf Cup for the first time since 1988.

Tens of thousands of people were going to the Basra International Stadium to watch the Arabian Gulf Cup final between Iraq and Oman. A health official said that there was a crush that killed at least two people and hurt dozens more. Officials said that many people hoped to get in even though they didn't have tickets.

A medical source told the state-run Iraqi National Agency (INA) that some of the people who were hurt were in very bad shape. Videos that were shared on social media seemed to show a lot of people lying still on the ground and medical workers trying to bring a man back to life.

A road leading to the stadium was lined with a huge crowd hours before the game, which was set to start at 19:00 local time (16:00 GMT). A photographer for the AFP news agency who was inside the stadium said that the turnstiles were not open when the crush happened.

Fans with tickets were later let into the stadium, but then the turnstiles were closed again and people still outside were asked to leave. It was a blow to the people who were planning the first international soccer tournament to be held in Iraq since 1979. The bigger prize of hosting qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup seemed close. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman, as well as Iraq, play in the Arabian Gulf Cup every two years.

COPYRIGHT_SZ: Published on https://stationzilla.com/iraqi-football-fans-crushed-outside-a-stadium-killing-one-and-injuring-sixty/ by Alexander McCaslin on 2023-01-20T02:15:04.557Z

Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, only two World Cup qualifiers have been played there. One was against Jordan in the northern city of Erbil in 2011, and the other was against Hong Kong in the southern city of Basra eight years later. All of the national team's other games have been played in countries close by, like Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

At least one dead after stampede outside football stadium in Iraq

Baghdad last hosted a competitive international game in September 2001, when Bahrain came to town. However, United Arab Emirates was finally set to come to town on March 24, 2018, for a 2022 World Cup qualifier. After a missile attack on Erbil, the Iraqi capital, 11 days before the game, the location was changed from Iraq to Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Sudani was said to be in charge of the situation on the ground, while the Iraqi army asked people in Basra to let the Arabian Gulf Cup end "wrapped up in a civilized fashion that does honor to Iraq."

He added by saying:

The Gulf Cup is a message to international sports institutions that Iraq is a safe country, that it has the capacity and capabilities enabling it to attract tournaments.

- Iraq's new Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani

He said that FIFA should let Iraq play World Cup qualifying games at home.

“The simplest message that the international federation could give to the Iraqi fans is lifting the international ban on Iraqi stadiums,” he said.

Conclusion

Earlier this month, Iraq had to apologize to its neighboring country Kuwait because chaos in the VIP section of the stadium kept the emir's representative from going to the opening game.

After many years of war and political turmoil, the tournament was meant to show a more positive side of the country.

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About The Authors

Alexander McCaslin

Alexander McCaslin

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