Justin Meram has withdrawn from the Iraqi National Team squad ahead of their pivotal qualifiers against Australia and Saudi Arabia because of travel concerns.
Iraqi Football Association confirmed this news with a statement on Facebook, which reads:
“Iraqi national team technical director Basil Gorgis has confirmed the absence of our national team player, Justin Meram from the upcoming matches against Australia and Saudi Arabia in the first and second rounds of the deciding World Cup qualifications round.
Korkes added that the technical staff exhausted a considerable effort with Meram to change his mind about not coming to Iran due to the recent decisions by the American government with regards to its relations with the Islamic Republic. [Technical director Basil] Gorgis tried to point out to the player and his family that his entrance to Tehran will not affect his presence in America. That was not convincing even with assertions from the Association’s legal expert Dr. Nazar Ahmed.
So, the national team technical staff decided to scratch his name from the list of player that will participate in the two upcoming games, hinting that the final list for the national team will be released tomorrow at the latest on the Association’s official website.”
The Iraqi national team is scheduled to face Australia on March 23rd with the game being played in Tehran, Iran due to security concerns. The team will travel to Saudi Arabia for a game on March 28th.