Basra date for HK as Iraq get green light to host cup qualifiers

Sports | ASSOCIATED PRESS 23 Aug 2019

Hong Kong are set to be the opponents when Iraq return to playing World Cup qualifying matches at home in October.

Fifa have given the southern Iraqi city of Basra the green light to host World Cup qualifiers. Security concerns since the 1980s have forced Iraq to host most qualifiers for the World Cup and the Olympics in neutral venues.

Fifa says following a security assessment by a delegation from world football's governing body that "Basra can stage games in qualifying for the 2022 edition."

Iraq host Hong Kong on October 10, likely at the 65,000-capacity Basra Sports City stadium, in a Group C match.

Top-ranked Iran visit on November 14. Bahrain and Cambodia are the other teams in the group.

Amid widespread pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Fifa says it is closely monitoring the situation ahead of the team's September 10 qualifier at home to Iran. Hong Kong open their campaign at Cambodia on September 5.

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