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Iraq Banned From Olympics: Government Broke IOC Rule

Iraq has been banned from participating in the Beijing Olympics because the government replaced the country's Olympic committee originally elected in 2004. The Olympic Charter states that all nations must have committees free from political influence. Now, Iraq's seven qualifying athletes — two rowers, two sprinters, an archer, a weightlifter, and a judo competitor — cannot fulfill their Olympic dreams because of their government's quarrel with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The dispute began in May when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government disbanded the Iraqi Olympic Committee, maintaining that the members were corrupt and won their spots through phony elections. The action broke IOC rules, and prompted the banning. Following the decision, the general secretary of the current Iraqi Olympic Committee said, "it is a blow to Iraq and its international reputation, its athletes, and its youth."

Although Iraq faces problems much more urgent than exclusion from the Olympics, watching fellow citizens compete with the rest of the world could have raised Iraqis' spirits and potentially inspired further reconciliation. Should the Olympics make an exception for Iraq, or stick by its standard of not mixing politics with sports?


Join The Conversation
zeze zeze 8 years
God, can Iraq do anything right? It is like curruption heaven over there - it seems like there is not one honest thing in the entire country.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
It's not even red tape. It's a bunch of bureaucrats thinking that it's better to blindly follow the rul of law than look at individual cases.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
This is so sad to me. The one opportunity that this country has to celebrate and unify behind one cause together yanked away by red tape.
MSucre MSucre 8 years
If the committee was corrupt then I think the IOC should have encouraged Iraq to disband it. IOC should consider the evidence, and if, in fact, the committee needed to be changed because of phony elections and a corrupt grouping of people then Iraq should be allowed to compete.
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 8 years
What a poor example of the "Olympic Spirit". The IOC itself has had a lot of turmoil, this is an example of do what I say, not what I do.
stephley stephley 8 years
"The Iraq government dissolved the National Olympic Committee in May and the interim IOC ban was put in place on 4 June. Davies added that the Iraqi government had been asked to travel to Switzerland to meet the IOC to discuss possible remedies but failed to do so." I'm sure the Iraqi government has had other things on its plate, but it looks like they knew this could happen and didn't do everything they could to stop it.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Why does the IOC not recognize the IOC? What is the rule concerning the replacing members of a country's olympic comittee
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
The IOC should certainly review the evidence, and make every effort to include Iraq. Excluding them is just adding insult to a nation that is in a difficult transition at the moment, anyway.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
Like you said in your post, they've got more worrisome things on their plate, but this just feels like more bad news when everyone just wants good news. Plus, I've read some memoirs of athletes who weren't able to compete in the 80 Olympics due to the boycott, and it's really hard on the ahtletes. For some people it's their life's work.
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
The Olympic committee should stick by its standards of not mixing politics with sports. If they are able and willing to compete..then let them compete.
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