Three Iraqi Soccer Players and Assistant Coach Seeking Asylum in Australia

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's soccer federation says an assistant coach and three members of Iraq's Olympic soccer team are seeking asylum in Australia.

The federation's secretary-general says the four disappeared yesterday from the home of colleagues in Australia following a game against Australia's Olympic team a day earlier.

The four failed to show up at the airport for their scheduled departure with the rest of their team and the assistant coach later phoned to say they were seeking asylum.

The Iraqi soccer official tells The Associated Press the reason is "because of the deteriorated security situation and violence against athletes in Iraq."

A spokeswoman for Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews says the players are still holding valid, three-month visas and have not applied for asylum.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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