FIFA chief says ‘shocked’ by Iraq football pitch bombing

infantinoFIFA president Gianni Infantino expressed shock and sadness Saturday at a suicide attack that ripped through a trophy ceremony after a local football tournament in Iraq, killing 32 people.

“I’m shocked and terribly saddened to have learnt about the awful tragedy which occurred yesterday at a football game,” Infantino said in a statement.

The bomber detonated his suicide vest late Friday afternoon as local officials were handing trophies to the players after a tournament in the Iraqi village of Al-Asriya, which lies near Iskandariyah, a town about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of Baghdad.

The attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, killed 32 people — nearly half of them boys aged 10 to 16 — and injured 84 others.

Infantino, who took over as FIFA leader in February, stressed that “around the world, football unites people.”

“It is a very sad day when people going to a match together become the victims of such violence,” he said.

“On behalf of FIFA and the global football community, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the victims’ families,” Infantino said.

“Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy and all our football friends in Iraq,” he added.



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