Under the slogan of "Kurdistan Football and its Next Stage", Kurdistan Football Association (KFA) held its annual conference at the Zaytun Library in Erbil on June 30th.
The conference was attended by KFA president, Safeen Kanaby, KFA deputy president, Sarkar Ali Khan, KFA secretary, Salam Hussein, representatives of first division, premier division, youths, and junior teams and many sports journalists.
At first, Kanaby talked about how successfully the Kurdistan Region hosted the recent VIVA World Cup and that he considered the Kurdistan football team's participation at the Nabka Championship in Palestine and winning the VIVA World Cup for the first time as historical achievements for Kurdistan football.
Kanaby said "We all need to be proud of what Kurdistan football team gained in the VIVA World Cup. Kurdish football is going to be known all over the world and I hope I see the team participate in more international competitions,"
The VIVA World Cup, one of the most important sporting events for nations unaffiliated with FIFA, ran for the first time in the Kurdistan Region last month where Kurdistan were crowned Champions.
Kanbay disclosed that KFA has received an invitation letter to visit Serbia aiming to sign memorandum of understanding with the sports federations in Serbia.
Despite paying tribute to the Kurdistan parliament for allocating 20 billion Iraqi dinars in the 2011 Kurdistan general budget for renovation of football stadiums, Kanaby said unfortunately no stadiums have been reconstructed and no one knows where the allotted money is.
In 2010, Kurdistan Region's Parliament allocated 10 billion dinars for sports, the first time the Region had a sports budget. For 2011, the budget increased to 20 billion ID in the hope of implementing more projects, creating better sports facilities and renovating the football stadiums in the Region.
In spite of the shortage of stadiums, nothing became an obstacle in the way of hosting the tournament in Kurdistan Region. Franso Hariri, Sulaimaniya and Duhok stadiums were very well prepared. But some matches were run in stadiums that had lots of problems. Kanaby hoped the media will raise the issue of 20 billion ID with the Ministry of Culture and Youth, who controls the budget.
"If the money was spent and the stadiums were renovated, the clubs could benefit also. The stadiums are not for a competition only but they can be used by clubs in the local leagues also. We as KFA representatives are pretty much concerned with Kurdistan sports problems and like to see good stadiums for all the teams and clubs," he noted
Kanaby appreciated and thanked all those who supported KFA in hosting the VIVA World Cup, particularly Nechirvan Barzani, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister who took the responsibility of paying all the competitions costs.
According to Sarkar Ali khan, KFA deputy president, KFF will change its working planning for the coming Kurdistan league season. "We need to make positive changes in the training course for trainers and referees. We also aim to pay a better attention to youths and junior teams this year," Ali Khan said
In the conference, all the teams' representatives were given a chance to have their say and give their opinion concerning the running of the Kurdistan league. Most of the representatives suggested that the referees' treatments should get better and milder toward the footballers. They also suggested that KFA needs to appoint professionals as supervisors of the matches.
Before the conference ended, the draw for first week matches of the Kurdistan premier league, which is scheduled to run from September 12th 2012, was announced. The draw results were as the following: Erbil vs Suli Peshmarga, Brusk vs Hawler Peshmarga, Handren vs Duhok, Ararat vs Sherwana, Suleimaniya vs Kirkuk, Hallo vs Zakho, and Zaravani vs Simel.
This season, 14 teams participate in the Kurdistan premier league, all of them from Kurdistan Region from the cities of Erbil, Duhok, Sulaimaniya and Kirkuk. The teams were not drawn into groups. The league has one group, and all 14 clubs play each other twice with a total of 26 matches.