Iraqi youth team denies allegations of sexual harassment by its members in Argentina

    The Iraqi under-20 team participating in the Under-20 FIFA World Cup in Argentina has denied “gross accusations” against the national team of sexually abusing a worker at the hotel where the players were staying.

    A police officer in charge of the Iraqi group’s security obtained the testimony of a young employee at a hotel restaurant who confirmed that members of the Iraqi group “touched her private parts” on Thursday night, according to De La. Plata Police (60 km from the capital of Buenos Aires), about which newspapers were printed A few Argentines.

    The director of the hotel’s front desk, heard by an Argentine police officer, testified that members of the Iraqi group “walked in their underwear down the corridors of the hotel and deliberately activated the fire alarm system”, and added that such behavior “we have not seen before in the hotel.”

    A police report quoted a security official as saying that members of the mission “misbehaved with the local interpreter” and “disabled the hotel’s elevator due to excessive weight”.

    Late Saturday evening, the Iraqi national team denied the allegations in a video clip broadcast on social media by the Iraqi Football Association.

    “Unfortunately, team members have been accused of sexual harassment,” Nadim Karim, the team’s managing director, said in a video message.

    He continued: “I accompanied the delegation for two years and we participated in more than one training camp in resorts, whether in Antalya or in Spain”, explaining that “despite the degree of freedom” that was available there, we have not been subjected to such accusations.”

    Kareem stated, “If such a shameful act unfortunately really existed, the video would be circulating around the world right now,” adding, “Today we are in 2023 and all people are under surveillance, in all places, on the streets, hotels, they are all under surveillance by cameras.”

    The Managing Director considered that the accusations of the “management of the hotel”, where the delegation of the Iraqi national team lives, of carrying out sabotage and robbery actions were made “in response to the delegation’s insistent demand to change the hotel”, which lacks “all the requirements … for improvement”, such as a sports club, and is located far from the site.

    Yesterday, on Saturday, the World Championship among youths under 20 started, and the tournament will last until June 11, 24 teams will take part in it.

    Asian runners-up Iraq are drawn into Group E along with Uruguay, England and Tunisia and will play their first match tomorrow, Monday, against Uruguay.

    Source: AFP.

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