Journalists banned for confronting Iraq coach at Asian Cup

By AFP   January 30, 2024 | 05:43 am PT
Journalists banned for confronting Iraq coach at Asian Cup
An Iraq player (R) is dejected as his Jordan opponent celebrates after the Asian Cup round of 16 football match on Jan. 29, 2024. Iraq lost 2-3. Photo by Reuters
The Asian Football Confederation on Tuesday banned the "aggressive" journalists who confronted coach Jesus Casas following Iraq's defeat in the last 16 of the Asian Cup.

Casas's Iraq conceded two goals deep in stoppage time in a surprise 3-2 defeat to lower-ranked Jordan in Qatar on Monday.

In the post-match press conference some Iraqi reporters pointed and shouted at the Spaniard, and approached him at the front of the room, before being ushered out by security.

"The AFC strongly condemns any type of unruly and aggressive behaviour and takes a zero-tolerance stance against such actions," the governing body for football in the region said.

The AFC "have taken the swift decision to bar the responsible individuals from covering not only the Asian Cup (in) Qatar but also future AFC tournaments", it added in the statement.

The performance of Iranian-Australian referee Alireza Faghani came under the spotlight for his decision to send off Aymen Hussein for over-celebrating.

The striker thought he had won the game for Iraq with his goal in the 76th minute and sat on the ground mimicking eating -- just as the Jordan players had after scoring.

Hussein was given a yellow card for it and sent off, and Jordan went on to score twice to reach the quarter-finals.

Angry Iraq fans rounded on Faghani on social media.

The AFC did not name him but said in the same statement that "we strongly condemn any form of threat, harassment, or disclosure of personal information targeting our referees, players, officials and all stakeholders."

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