Deputy FM blames Saudis over AFC’s decision on banning Iranian teams

TEHRAN, Jan. 19 (MNA) – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that Saudis have taken advantage of the martyrdom of innocent people to achieve their political aims.

“Saudis aimed to connect the issue to their political aims and as they are seeking the victory of their teams, in a competition which is designed to promote friendship, they deprived Iranian teams of a privilege.”

He went on to highlight the need to stand against Saudi Arabia.

The remarks come as the Iranian football federation announced on Friday that it has received a letter from the AFC indicating that the Iranian teams have to host their rivals in 2020 ACL at neutral venues.  Meanwhile, the four Iranian teams have announced that they will participate in the event only if they can host their opponents in Iran.

The decision is not final as the Executive Committee is yet to confirm it but some Arab media reports indicate that the final decision has been confirmed.

The controversial decision is likely due to the unintentional downing of a Ukrainian airliner on Jan 8 by Iranian air defense which claimed the lives of all 176 passengers and crews on board. 

MAH/IRN 83640330

News Code 154728

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