x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Iraqi fans' anger at game 'ban'

Iraqi residents of the Emirates say they were refused entry to Bahrain to watch their home team take on the UAE in the Gulf Cup final.

Iraqi residents of the Emirates say they were refused entry to Bahrain to watch their home team take on the UAE in the Gulf Cup final.

Faris Abdulrazzaq and Hamdy Hamoudi, who have Canadian passports but are of Iraqi heritage, flew from Dubai to Bahrain International Airport but were told on arrival that they were not allowed into the country, they said yesterday.

They claim a Government official at the airport told them he had received a directive to not let Iraqis in the country - either those with Iraqi passports or people of Iraqi heritage with foreign passports.

Mr Abdulrazzaq, 42, said: "I feel disgusted and insulted. The UAE fans on the flight were shocked at the way we were treated. I have travelled to sporting events around the world and I have never seen anything like this in my life."

"I'm extremely angry. There was no reason given," added Mr Hamoudi, 31. "There was an airplane that came from Iraq and everyone came out, including the pilot and stewardess, and they didn't allow them to enter."

ecleland@thenational.ae