Iraq bracing up for West Asian Football Championship

BAGHDAD, Iraqi security authorities have set out a water-tight security plan to play host to 2019 West Asian Football Federation Championship, the most important event to be organized by Iraq since an anti-terror war was over.

The Asian event, due between July 30 and August 14, will attract the national football teams of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, in addition to Iraq.

Matches are to be played at two stadiums; Karbala International Stadium in Karbala Governorate, south of Baghdad, and Franso Hariri Stadium in Irbil Governorate, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.

Unlike the security situation in other Iraqi governorates, the governorates of Karbala and Irbil have been enjoying better security conditions since 2003.

In Irbil, where the Kuwaiti football squad will stay, security authorities have already imposed strict security measures in order to ensure safe and smooth matches there, Irbil police spokesman Hoker Azeez told KUNA.

Civil defense forces are to be deployed in the governorate’s main streets, markets and places where the participating teams and fans could visit, the spokesman stressed.

But, policemen and Kurdish forces will be responsible for securing Franso Hariri Stadium where the games of Group B will take place, Azeez pointed out.

The accommodations of participating Arab delegations in Irbil will be tightly guarded, the police spokesman reassured.

Concerning security in Karbala, police spokesman Colonel Alaa Al-Ghanmi said provincial security organs have approved an integrated security plan based on providing security to all guests from the beginning to the end of the tournament.

The security plan has been worked out under the direct supervision of Karbala police commander Major General Ahmad Ali and with the participation of all internal security forces.

Tourist security forces will be tasked with welcoming the Arab guests at Al-Najaf Airport and taking them to their accommodations in Karbala, protecting them around the clock, he said.

Furthermore, a well-trained and efficient police squad will be responsible for securing pitches and protecting fans, footballers, referees and administrators, the spokesman emphasized.

Karbala International Stadium and Franso Hariri Stadium had hosted several recent regional and international matches.

Source: Kuwait News Agency