Iraqi soccer referee kidnapped

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:37 IST

An Iraqi international soccer referee was kidnapped as he left the Iraqi Federation of Football in Baghdad, police said on Tuesday.

Iraqi soccer referee kidnapped

Baghdad:

An Iraqi international soccer referee was kidnapped as he left the Iraqi Federation of Football in Baghdad, police said on Tuesday. Hazim Hussein had just left the Shaab Stadium in north- eastern Baghdad, where the federation is headquartered, on Monday evening when he was taken by unidentified assailants, police Capt Mohammed Abdul Ghani said. Tariq Ahmed, head of the Iraqi Referee Association, told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the kidnappers had asked for a 200,000-dollar ransom for the 44-year-old. Hussein had been scheduled to travel to Amman later this month to referee a game between Jordan and Qatar, Ahmed said. Iraqi sports officials and athletes have frequently faced threats, kidnappings and assassination attempts. Most recently, on October 6, gunmen killed a 37-year-old former Iraqi national volleyball player, Naseer Shamil, in his shop in Baghdad. In September, 22-year-old Ghanim Ghudayer, a popular Iraqi soccer player who was a member of the country's Olympic team was also kidnapped. He has not been heard from since. In July, Iraq's national soccer coach, Akram Ahmed Salman, resigned after receiving death threats against him and his family. Earlier that month, unidentified gunmen kidnapped the chairman of Iraq's National Olympic Committee and at least 30 other officials, including the presidents of the taekwondo and boxing federations, in a brazen daylight raid on a sports conference in the heart of Baghdad. The abduction came after Iraq's national wrestling coach, a Sunni, was killed in a Shiite district of Baghdad. (AP)

Topics : Football
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