26 Jul 2008

Iraq to appeal against Olympic ban

7:56 pm on 26 July 2008

Iraqi representatives will meet members of the International Olympic Committee on Monday to try to reach an agreement that would allow Iraq to participate in next month's games.

The ban stems from a decision by the Iraqi government to disband the National Olympic Committee in May because of a dispute over how it had been assembled.

The International Olympic Committee set a deadline for its reinstatement but the government did not back down and the ban was confirmed on Thursday.

The IOC's Olympic Charter forbids political interference in the Olympic movement and provides for the suspension of a National Olympic Committee.

Iraq's minister of youth and sports, Jassim M. Jaffer, told CNN he is optimistic his country will participate. He said an Iraqi government spokesman and the ministry's adviser are on their way to Lausanne in Switzerland, to meet IOC officials.

Beijing organisers expressed regret that Iraqi athletes will not be able to take part. At least seven Iraqi athletes - two rowers, a weightlifter, sprinter, discus thrower, judoka and an archer - had earned places in Beijing.