Iraqi Elite Cup
The Iraqi Elite Cup (Arabic: كأس النخبة العراقي), known officially as the Baghdad Championship (Arabic: بطولة بغداد) and previously known as the Mother of all Battles Championship (Arabic: بطولة أم المعارك, Botola Umm Al-Ma'arik), referring to the name that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein referred to the Gulf War as, was an annual football competition in men's domestic Iraqi football that was held at the beginning of each season. It was founded in 1991, and its last ever edition was the 2003 edition. The entire tournament was usually played in a two-week period before the league season began, except for the 1995 and 2001 editions that were played midway through the league season.
|Organising body||Iraq Football Association|
|Number of teams||8 (from 1994)|
|Most successful club(s)||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
(3 titles each)
The top eight teams of the previous Iraqi Premier League season entered the competition, with the exception of the 1991 and 1993 editions, where the top six teams of the league entered. The teams were split into two groups, and the top two teams from each group advanced to the semi-finals. The winners would contest the final, and the losers would play for third place.
Although the cup was one of the four major domestic trophies attainable by top-flight teams at the time, it was perceived by larger clubs as being of a lower priority to the league championship and the Iraq FA Cup. In the first edition, the winners received a 7k IQD prize money, while the runners-up received 5k IQD. In the second edition, because of the economical changes that accrued on the dinar, the winners were given 150k IQD and the runners-up were given 100k IQD.
The idea of this cup was requested by the administration of Al-Talaba SC to the Iraq Football Association and it was to put the top six teams of the 1990–91 Iraqi National League in a single-elimination competition, because of the lack of Iraqi competitions other than the then-called Iraqi National League and the Iraq FA Cup. The Iraq FA accepted the request on 24 August 1991, and put up a committee to administrate the competition, which decided to make 2 September the opening date. Over 55,000 spectators came to Al-Shaab Stadium, a ground that can only hold 45,000, to watch the cup final between Al-Zawraa and Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, which ended with a 3-1 win for Al-Zawraa. After the first edition of the cup that was set up by Al-Talaba, the Iraq Football Association adopted the competition due to its promising reception from fans, and increased the number of participating teams from six to eight.
The tournament was criticised for containing only the top eight teams of the league, because it was thought that Iraqi football needed another competition other than the Iraq FA Cup that allowed clubs from lower divisions to participate. In almost every single edition of the cup, three of the four Baghdad Derby clubs (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, Al-Shorta, Al-Talaba and Al-Zawraa) finished in the top four, while in the 2002 and 2003 editions, all of them finished in the top four. All of the four Baghdad Derby teams have won the cup title three times. There have been two occasions where a team was not able to participate in the competition. In 1991, Al-Naft could not participate and they were replaced by seventh-placed Al-Najaf, and in 2003, Al-Karkh were not able to participate and they were replaced by ninth-placed Erbil.
Due to the Battle of Baghdad in April 2003 and the end of the rule of the former president Saddam Hussein, the Iraq Football Association decided to change the competition's name from Mother of all Battles Championship to Baghdad Championship due to the former name's resemblance to the Gulf War. It was named the Baghdad Championship because all of the competition's matches were played in Baghdad, being divided between Al-Shorta Stadium, Al-Karkh Stadium, Al-Zawraa Stadium, and Al-Sinaa Stadium. It ended with Al-Zawraa winning the championship. This was the first and last edition of the Baghdad Championship, as the tournament was discontinued after that season. Since then, it has gained the name of Iraqi Elite Cup (Al-Nukhba Cup) due to the fact that it was contested between the best eight teams in the country each year.
Records and statisticsEdit
|Mother of all Battles Championship|
|1991||Al-Zawraa||3–1 (aet)||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya||Al-Talaba||2–2 (aet)
|1992||Al-Talaba||1–0 (agget)||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya||Al-Zawraa||4–0||Al-Naft|
|1994||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya||0–0 (aet)
|2001[b]||Al-Shorta||1–0 (agget)||Al-Talaba||Al-Karkh||2–1||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
|Al-Talaba||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya / Al-Shorta|
(No third place match)
- Played entirely in 1996.
- Played entirely in 2002.
- Final played in 2004.
Most successful clubsEdit
|Team||Winners||Runners-up||Winning years||Runner-up years|
|Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya||3||5||1994, 1996, 1998||1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999|
|Al-Talaba||3||4||1992, 1993, 1995||1994, 2001, 2002, 2003|
|Al-Zawraa||3||2||1991, 1999, 2003||1996, 2000|
|Al-Shorta||3||1||2000, 2001, 2002||1997|
List of winning managersEdit
|1994||Iraq||Adnan Dirjal||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
|1996||Iraq||Ayoub Odisho||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
|1998||Iraq||Nazar Ashraf||Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya|
- El-Najjar, Hassan (2001). "Chapter 9, The Mother of All Battles". Gulf War 1991. Amazon Press.
- Hashim, Refel; Qayed, Mohammed; Mubarak, Hassanin (December 20, 2007). "Iraq - List of Cup Winners". RSSSF. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05.
- Mahmoud, Shukri (2010). "3". Iraqi Football in 100 years (in Arabic). Baghdad.
- Awad, Mofeed (November 2, 2014). "Al-Talaba wins over Al-Jawiya and hold the second Umm Al-Ma'arik cup 1992". Youtube (in Arabic).
- Hashim, Refel; Mubarak, Hassanin (April 2, 2006). "Iraq 1991/92". RSSSF.
- Mubarak, Hassanin (December 29, 2003). "Iraq 2002/03". RSSSF.
- Hashim, Refel; Mubarak, Hassanin (September 25, 2004). "Iraq 2003/04". RSSSF.
- "Iraq Football Association: Baghdad Championship replaces the Umm Al-Ma'arik Cup" (in Arabic). Iraq Center. September 9, 2003.