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Iraq bans national team footballers for partying during coronavirus lockdown measures

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The Iraqi Football Association (IFA) has banned two main players from the national team after failing to comply with coronavirus social distancing measures and attending a concert.

Footballers Durgham Ismail and Alaa Mahawi have been banned from the team after a video circulated online showing the two players partying at a concert.

"The decision was made after reviewing a video that circulated on social media of the national soccer team players Durgham Ismail and Alaa Mahawi, which violates conditions regarding quarantine, social distancing and avoiding gatherings,” the football association said in a statement.

The IFA accused the players of undermining the dangers of the global pandemic and noted the decision was made with consultation from the coach of the national team, Srecko Katanec. 

"A fine of two million Iraqi dinars (around 1,600 dollars) was imposed on each player, which will be invested in supporting the families affected by the coronavirus pandemic," the statement added.
 
The IFA warned all players must be an example to the wider Iraqi society, urging them to contribute to raising awareness on appropriate measures and guidelines designed to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

Iraq has recorded a total of 29,222 coronavirus cases, with 1,013 deaths and 13,211 recoveries. The country has been burdened by the outbreak due to a weakened healthcare system and doctors have warned healthworkers are being put at paramount risk of contracting the virus.
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