In soccer news, Iraq soccer fans face a year in the soccer wilderness. FIFA have suspended the country from all international competitions. The ban comes after the Iraq government breached FIFA and Olympic Rules by dissolving its National Olympic Committee and national sport federations.
It's a far cry from the scenes of celebration in Baghdad last July as the national team made it to the Asian Cup Final. Though few had given them any chance of winning the Iraqis defied the odds pulling off a stunning 1-0 victory to a powerful Saudi side. Today, en route to Brisbane, the Iraqi team is in limbo of their chance to compete in next week's World Cup qualifier with Australia.
In other soccer news, soccer mania has gripped India's eastern Kolkata city. Legendary German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and FC Bayern, Munich, the world famous German football club, are touring there. It was a dream come true for 48 young footballers who got a chance to play with their dream footballers from the FC Bayern club. Six of them will go for a month long training camp at the club.
And finally, co-hosts Austria and Switzerland are making ready for EURO 2008. In Klagenfurt, Austrian officials are expecting the population to double with a mass infusion of soccer fans. In the historic city centre, finishing touches are being made to paving of the picturesque town square. Meanwhile, in Basel, officials are taking safety precautions with the renovation and reopening of a 19th century prison called Schaellemaetteli. The giant complex built in 1864 is room for 450 soccer hooligans, should the need arise. The EURO 2008 runs from June 7 to 29th.