You Are Paying $500G+ For Iraq’s Soccer Team

If you turned on ESPN2 after you woke up this morning, you may have noticed the opening game of the Concederation’s Cup in South Africa kicking off. The Con Cup is essentially a fabricated event, put on by FIFA as a tune-up for the World Cup a year before the larger event kicks off; a way to test the host country’s ability to put on the real show 12 months later.

iraq soccer team

(You’re paying $500,000-1 million for this team to get crushed in Africa.) 

This 2009 Con. Cup got started with a match between the host, South Africa, and Iraq. Wait, Iraq is at an international soccer tournament? How are they paying for it? Well, that’s a good question, particularly since it’s probably setting the nation back at least $500,000 to get to the event and stay there for its duration. The last time we checked, much of that funding was still coming directly from American taxpayers’ pockets.

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Iraqi Squad Disbanded After WC Qualifying Loss

In a war-torn country like Iraq, the re-building of a soccer team was one of the few bright lights for the populace, a rallying point — particularly when the team won the Asian Cup last year by beating Saudi Arabia. Now, that group of players and rallying point for a country is in limbo, as the Iraqi Football Association has disbanded the team and fired its coach Adnan Hamad.

Iraqi soccer team

(The Iraqi team is likely in a much less jovial mood than shown in this Asian Cup photo.)

The team missed the final qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with a loss to Qatar on Sunday, and part of the IFA’s reasoning behind the disbanding is a need for more government cash in order to lure foreign coaching talent.

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