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Olympics-Beijing organisers regret absence of Iraq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BEIJING, (Reuters) – Beijing organisers on Friday expressed regret that Iraqi athletes will not be able to take part in next month’s Olympics after the suspension of the country’s National Olympic Committee (NOC).

The Iraqi government disbanded the NOC in May because of a dispute over how it had been assembled. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) set a deadline for its reinstatement but the government did not back down and the ban was confirmed on Thursday.

“The IOC has made its decision according to its regulations.” Sun Weide, spokesman for the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG), said by telephone on Friday.

“It is an internal affair of the IOC. BOCOG regrets that the Iraqi athletes will not take part in the Beijing Games.”

The IOC’s Olympic Charter forbids political interference in the Olympic Movement and provides for the suspension of an NOC in the event “any governmental body …. causes the activity of the NOC …. to be hampered”.

At least seven Iraqi athletes — two rowers, a weightlifter, sprinter, discus thrower, judoka and an archer — had earned places in Beijing.