"It's like a judgment against my country," Akram told The Times. "I am upset and the Iraqi people are upset. There are a lot of people hoping I would be the first Iraqi to play in the British league."
"I want to find another club in a country where I am welcome."
"Everybody knows that Iraq is going through difficult circumstances," Najim Mohammed, Akram's agent, said. "We were shocked by such an unfair decision. We had hoped that British authorities would understand the current situation of the country."
Ahmed Abbas, of the Iraqi Football Federation, said that the planned move of Akram was meant to open doors for Iraqis.
"I called this man [Akram] the Iraqi football ambassador to the West and that's why we were all shocked and disappointed."
Egil Olsen, the Iraqi team manager, said: "We don't understand. It doesn't make sense. He's the best I have seen."