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IOC Suspends Iraqi's National Olympic Committee


The International Olympic Committee has provisionally suspended Iraq's national Olympic Committee because of government interference in sports.

At the IOC executive board meeting in Athens, Greece, the IOC said Iraq was suspended after the Iraqi government's recent dissolution of the national body. The IOC said that was a clear violation of the Iraqi Olympic Committee's autonomy.

The world governing body said it would not recognize Iraq's interim Olympic committee. The IOC said talks would be held with Iraqi committee members who are legitimately elected in an attempt "to find appropriate solutions."

The suspension threatens Iraq's participation in the Beijing Olympics in August. Last month, Iraq disbanded its Olympic committee and replaced it with an interim committee supervised by the Iraqi sports ministry.

The Iraqi government said the Olympic committee was dissolved because it did not have enough members for a quorum and elections have not been held in five years. The head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, Ahmed Al-Samarrai, was kidnapped in July of 2006 and has not been heard from since.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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