I just received an e-mail today from a reader in the UK. (Pretty to cool to think people other than my friends are actually reading this). Anyway, this reader is of Iraqi heritage and has been following my posts on an Iraqi Forum and then found this site.
Here is what he wrote
Hey there Terry!
Ive been reading your webcast thing and your postings on the aliraqi.org site. I just want to say that it is very refreshing to see someone like you! Big props for organising the ’friendly’ match between the supporters, it’s a really nice idea, i hope all involved have fun and make new bridges between our 2 countries! Also, although i want Iraq to win on Sunday I also hope Australia go far! All the best, An iraqi medic in the uk
Since we played our first match in Germany 2006, it has been our goal to play matches against supporter groups of other nations if possible when the Socceroos are playing. We truly believe that Football is not only the World Game, but The World Language. Travelling to foreign countries and meeting people from different cultures is a pleasure for us. Playing a game of Football is not a chore but a privilege when played in the right spirit.
We all want the same thing the world over, and as corny as it sounds, it is “World Peace”, and harmony. I just don’t think it is that hard.
Make no mistake, I will be gutted if we loose on Sunday, but in the end, it is only a game and I will wake up the next day and the sun will rise.
After 5 days of turmoil in the Football World caused by the biggest over reaction since Bob Hawke proclaimed “any boss who sacked a worker taking a sickie was a bum”, The Socceroos will take on The Lions of Babylon on Sunday. and 50,000 plus fans will be there cheering them on, (Mostly Aussies of course).
The lifting of the ban is conditional on a number of issues to be resolved between FIFA, IFA and the Iraqi Government relating to the dismantling of the Iraqi Olympic Committee. At least this will be done diplomatically and not under the cloud of an international ban.
This outcome is almost identical to that proposed by a mate of mine (Chris) on kickoff.com.au the other day. It seemed blatantly obvious to him, and to the rest of us when we read it. Perhaps Sepp has started reading it as well. It is such an obvious solution, but why did FIFA take such a hard line to start with? Because they are politicians and not interested in the welfare of the players or the fans. When a group of people get into power, they seem to loose all sense of reality and make decisions they tell us is the right one for the sport, or the people, or the economy, when in the end, it is just a decision to boost their ego or their party or whatever.
FOX Sports understands FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier against Iraq will go ahead, despite FFA’s reluctance to confirm the fixture.
If this is true then Sanity has Prevailed.
As a fan of the game and organiser of the Australia V Iraq Supporters match, this makes me very happy.
I still cannot believe how far this went. Surely FIFA should have just started dialogue with the Iraqi government and the IFA to get to the bottom of it. Wielding a big stick like they did, was nothing short of embarrassing for FIFA. After almost 50 years, it has not worked in the Israel and it does not work anywhere else.
Australia V Iraq Supporters Match
I get another marketing opportunity tomorrow morning, when I get a live interview on ABC Radio here on the Gold Coast.
Wow, I read last nights post an wondered what drugs I was on. Sorry about that, I seemed to be all over the place.
I managed to get my Ugly Mug on TV tonight. It seems that this story is very news worthy in Australia and since I sent out a Media release yesterday I was contacted by Channel Nine for some comment.
My first go at this and the end result was well below what I thought it would be. However, they say that any publicity is good publicity, so I achieved something.
One point I failed to get across last night was that I totally disagree with the FIFA executive and their stance against the Iraq FA. How can an organisation like FIFA make a decision that directly effects the people of Iraq. These people want to have something positive to look at and follow in place of the day to day violence they come across. Football is that something, it is the World Game and The World Language.
Politics and Sport do not mix. Settle the political differences by dialogue instead of the Big Stick. A mate of mine suggested that by allowing the Iraqis to play now and disciplining them at a later date would be a fat better outcome. I agree with this point, as the fans win and if there are no adverse findings then the IFA and th fans all win as well as FIFA.
There are reports tonight that it is or will be solved. Lets hope so.
Today FIFA suspended Iraq from FIFA competitions for 12 months. The Iraq Football Association have until midnight Thursday, our time to respond. Read here for more detail.
Of course the Iraq Government denies that the IFA has been dismantled and that it is only the Iraq Olympic Committee that has been dismantled.
Whatever the reasons, it just shows how Politicians should tread very carefully when dipping their toes into Sport. The Australian Government successfully dismantled Soccer Australia and replaced it with the FFA, however this had widespread community support and undoubtedly the support of FIFA.
With so many other problems in Iraq, why turn the focus on to Sport, and a negative focus at that. Surely the Iraqi Government should be concentrating on stopping the number of people being killed every day as opposed to dismantling sporting bodies ( I assume for being corrupt). With the country in such turmoil, even a glimmer of hope on the sporting field can change the focus of a nation away from the day to day violence.
I was in Jakarta last year and watched Iraq beat Saudi Arabia in the Asian Cup Final. The euphoria from those fans was sensational. The images on TV for the next week was great. How many happy, smiling Iraqis do you see on TV each day? Not Many is the answer.
I am not happy that if Iraq have to forfeit that Australia will receive points as if it were a bye. I want to beat them fair and square on the pitch. We need to extract some revenge for the loss in Bangkok last year.
Australian and Iraqi Supporters to Clash in Friendly Football Match
23 May 2008 PEACE is about to break out between Australia and Iraq – on the soccer pitch at least.
As most people know, Australia is playing Iraq in a World Cup qualifier at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday June 1. What many people don’t know is this will be the second football (soccer) game between the countries on the very same day.
Some dedicated supporters of the Socceroos and the Iraq football team have organised a friendly football match only hours before the main game.
The team has already played a triangular series in Germany at the 2006 World Cup, played a Thai team in Bangkok during the 2007 Asian Cup, and also games against Hyundai A League supporters teams, Lokomotiv Cove (Sydney), Jet Squadron (Newcastle), Dinamo Marinators (Central Coast) and Den FC (Queensland).
AOTFC game organiser Terry Hands is looking forward to the game with the Iraqi supporters.
“Our team has a philosophy of bridging cultural divides through the common world language that is football. Our unique football community mixes the elements of sport, fair play, fun and friendly competition to bring people together from all walks of life”.
Mr Hands had organised the Iraq supporters’ team through the Iraqi internet forum www.aliraqi.org.
“They have jumped at the chance to represent their country in this challenge and we are looking forward to a fantastic experience for both teams. What usually happens with these fixtures is we arrive as strangers and go away as true friends”.
The match is to be played at the home of Toowong Soccer Club, Dunmore Park, Auchenflower starting at 12:45 pm. Spectators are very welcome, and due to it’s vicinity to Suncorp Stadium, the game makes an ideal curtain raiser to the Socceroos fixture later that evening.
Yesterday, 56 hours after our mate Kenny lay dead on a street in Currumbin, we went to visit him in hospital. Ken is sitting up, talking and laughing. He has severe short term memory loss at the moment, which apparently is normal and will gradually decline over the next week or so. It is like Ground hog Day every 5 mins at the moment.
I was with 3 of the dozen or so guys who worked on Ken to keep him alive. To say they felt good would be an understatement. It is moments like these where you do give yourself a reality check. How lucky we are to be alive, and how lucky we are to have friends around us that care.
As I looked out the 9th floor window at Gold Coast hospital yesterday, I knew how lucky I am to be here in a fantastic country. My heart goes out to those in Burma and China who have nowhere to live, no fresh water, no food. Human tragedy that is all too often played out around the world through no fault of our own.
Today would have been Johnny Warrens 65th Birthday. For us Australian Football fans, Johnny is a Legend in the game. Not only for the player he was, but for the never ending belief that Australia was good enough to make it to the ultimate appearance in World Football. Appearing at the FIFA World Cup of Football is the ultimate prize for Footballing nations. Here is a tribute to Johnny Warren that was played prior to the November 16, 2005 WC qualifier against Uruguay.
Thanks for the memories Johnny, and you did “Tell Us So”
This morning was just like any other Friday morning. I woke at 5am and headed of to the gym. My gym is actually the beautiful Currumbin Beach here on the Gold Coast. I meet up with about 20 other blokes and we head off on a run along the beach front. We have a trainer who works this all out for us and he mixes it up with different exercises etc.
After about 45 mins we were heading back to the surf club when one of our mates, Ken, a 55 year old bloke, he had a Cardiac Arrest at the top of the hill. Ken is alive because;
1. Half the blokes are trained life savers
2. CPR was started within seconds of his collapse
3. We had an Oxy Viva kit at the Surf Club about 200m away
4. An Ambulance was there within 10 mins Ken is in a stable condition in an induced coma and will be for the next 72 hours. The 3 guys who worked on him saved his life. It shook us all up, and the guys who do not have any first aid training all want to do a course. We are talking about buying a defibrillator to have in the back of our trainers van, as half of us are trained to use it.
It can happen to anyone at any time. Ken is not overweight and has been doing this type of training for a number of years. His arteries are the likely culprit with a build up of cholesterol. We believe his physical fitness will probably will help his recovery. My advice: Get a first aid certificate and keep it current. You may just be able to save someone’s life one day.
I was not actually there during this, but I was shaken all the same. The guys who worked on him are heroes. They have not only my respect and gratitude, but all those who were there as well. Bhudi, Nelso and Hoges, Thank you.