Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has strongly condemned the recent series of attacks of football stadiums in Iraq.
Speaking out about the incidents, he has urged the Iraqi government to boost the level of security and ensure the safety of all stakeholders during football matches.
A Baghdad football field recently bore witness to a gruesome act of violence as a bomb went off and killed 15 people, mostly youngsters, during a domestic league match between Karbala and Air Force.
Several Karbala players were also wounded as a result of the barbaric act by irresponsible groups, while coach Mohammed Abbas succumbed to injuries sustained in the bombing.“It is disheartening to know that young lives were lost watching a football game," Shaikh Salman said.
"I would like to request the Iraqi government to ensure safety and security of spectators in and around stadiums.
“The death of coach Mohammed Abbas is a loss to Asian football. On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to express my deepest condolences to his family, friends and the entire Iraqi football family.
“I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Karbala players and would like to urge the security forces that their primary focus should be to protect the players and spectators and this act definitely deserves condemnation.”
Shaikh Salman reiterated that football should be a platform to promote peace and harmony for all and no individuals or groups should hijack it for their own personal agenda.
“The beautiful game is regarded as the best form to bring peace and harmony but certain elements are trying to use it for their personal benefit," he asserted.
“I would like to strongly ask them to utilise the power of football for better means.”