Soccer’s international governing body has relented and will allow the Iraqi national soccer team a chance to qualify for the 2010 World Cup tournament, officials said late Thursday.

The International Federation of Association Football, or FIFA, had suspended the Iraqi team from competition on Monday after the Iraqi government disbanded and replaced its Olympic Committee and other sports federations. But by late in the week, FIFA said it had received assurances from the Iraqi government that Iraq’s soccer federation would remain as it was.

Iraqi officials said they removed several sporting officials — including the leadership of the Olympic Committee — because of charges of corruption and mismanagement.

FIFA’s decision Thursday to allow the Iraqi team to play on was "provisional and has conditions attached," according to a press statement.

Iraq’s response to the situation "is a positive step, however it does not fully answer all of FIFA’s concerns about the governmental attempts to control the Iraqi federations and the Iraqi National Olympic Committee," the statement read.

An Iraqi government spokesman welcomed the decision but defended Iraq’s actions.

"The national Olympic Committee lacks legitimacy but the Iraqi Football Association has been exempted from the Cabinet’s decision," Ali al-Dabbagh said, according to wire reports.

The Iraqi team — a rare source of national unity after its surprise victory in the Asian Cup tournament last year — can now play its next qualifying match on Sunday against Australia. The team, which also finished fourth in the 2004 Olympics, is a mix of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

"The decision delighted us, along with Iraqi people everywhere," Adnan Hamad, the Iraqi national team coach, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"The main goal for the players now is to win the match on Sunday and raise Iraq’s name and flag."

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