The International Olympic Committee has banned Iraq from the Beijing
Olympics because of government interference in the National Olympic
An IOC spokeswoman told VOA Sports that the decision
follows the suspension of Iraq's Olympic Committee in early June. The
IOC had invited the Iraqi government to Lausanne to try to resolve the
situation, but no progress has been made.
In a letter to the
Iraqi Sports Minister, the IOC said in spite of its efforts and those
of the Olympic Council of Asia to find a solution, the situation has
not changed and Iraq's suspension was upheld.
The IOC suspended
Iraq because of what it called "ongoing political interference by the
government in the sports movement in Iraq." The IOC move was made after
the Iraqi Council of Ministers dismissed the national Olympic Committee
and appointed an interim committee chaired by the minister of sport.
Iraqi government said last month that 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.
The IOC spokeswoman said that the
door remains open for change, but she does not expect Iraq to be able
to meet the governing body's requirements in time for the opening
ceremonies on August 8.