Great support for Iraqi football team development

LG Electronics has renewed its pioneering sponsorship of the Iraqi Football Association for another two years. The agreement will see vital funds flow into the sport at all levels, and boost Iraq’s national and Olympic football teams. “Despite tremendous difficulties, Iraq football has made major strides over the last two years, and we are determined to see that this good work continues. We have been inspired by the achievements of the players, as have communities across the Middle East,” K W Kim, President of LG Electronics, Middle East and Africa Operations, announced.

Iraq is currently preparing for the 2008 Asian Cup qualifiers, and the team are eager to improve on the country’s impressive showing at the Athens Olympics where Iraq reached the quarterfinals.

Aside from much needed financial support, LG’s sponsorship will help provide for training facilities, equipment, practice sessions in Jordan and the team’s participation in qualifying games and tournaments. Kim said that LG’s sponsorship showed its belief in football as a means to heal communities and reflected the brand’s commitment to the region. "Our renewed sponsorship will hopefully see the joy of football touch more people’s lives in Iraq,” he said.

The IFA's partnership with LG is the first corporate sponsorship in its history. Announced in Dubai two years ago, the tie-up made international headlines and saw the Iraq Olympic team travel to Seoul as LG’s VIP guests to play their Korean counterparts at the Sangam Football Stadium.

The press conference in Dubai to announce the renewal of the agreement was attended by Iraq Football Association president, Hussain S. Mohammed and manager, Laieth Abdul Razak and the Iraqi National Team's executive director, Sudad Al Mutair and team captain, Razzak Farhan. LG’s delegation included Kevin Cha, General Manager, LG Electronics, Baghdad Office.

Meantime, the England Football Association announced coach Darran Bowles will be heading to United Arab Emirates this week to deliver a week-long Level 1 FA coaching course to a group of 18 young Iraqi coaches. The training programme is being run by Football United which is a grassroots football development scheme designed to help young Iraqis aged between 18 to 34 to obtain international coaching skills and to coach as many Iraqi youngsters as possible.

The FA-backed project has already seen four Iraqi coaches receive their FA International Licence when the course was staged in November 2004 in Amman. A further 100 Iraqi coaches have also earned various coaching qualifications.

“The FA’s involvement in Football United complements the long-standing Memorandum of Understanding between The FA and the Asian Football Confederation. This focuses on improving standards in football in Asia through training and education. We are particularly pleased to be part of the Football United initiative which provides a relatively rare opportunity for coaches from Iraq to have access to formal training to improve their coaching ability,” the FA’s Head of International Relations, Jane Bateman, announced.