Iraq asks Bahrain for player's release

Updated: July 10, 2011, 1:13 PM ET
Associated Press

BAGHDAD -- The president of Iraq's Football Association says the country is appealing with Bahraini authorities to release an Iraqi player who was detained during anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom.

Najeh Hamoud says Iraq is trying to "secure the release" of Zulfiqar Naji, a 16-year-old player on the junior team for Bahraini club Al Muharraq.

The player's father, Abdulameer Naji, says his son was taken into custody from their Bahrain home in April on suspicion of participating in protests.

At least three players for Bahrain's national team have been detained during months of political turmoil. One of them was sentenced to two years in prison.

Last week, Bahrain's football officials assured FIFA that national team players haven't been disciplined during the unrest.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press