Football: Iraqi footballers face probe over night out during Asian Cup

Iraq's players argue with the referee during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup match against Qatar at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Jan 22, 2019.
Iraq's players argue with the referee during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup match against Qatar at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Jan 22, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's football federation said on Monday (Jan 28) that it was investigating whether the national team players in Abu Dhabi for the Asian Cup this month sneaked out of their hotel to party at a nightclub.

Media reports have alleged that after their draw against Iran last week in the final group-stage match, some Iraqi players travelled to nearby Dubai for a night out.

"We have decided to form a fact-finding committee over what was reported by different media and have invited all relevant parties to take part," the federation said in a statement.

If the allegations prove to be correct, the federation would consider legal action for "defamation" and harming Iraq's reputation, its media head Mohammad Khalaf told AFP.

Iraq were knocked out of the tournament with a 1-0 defeat by Qatar in the last 16.

Last year, Iraqi national teams were embroiled in a string of age-fraud scandals.

Adult players were found to have falsified ages on their passports to represent the Under-16 squad, and the Under-23 team also dropped out of the Asian Games tournament amid similar allegations of lying.

It came as Fifa allowed Iraq to host international matches for the first time in three decades.