AFC’s decision non-sports, baseless action: FM Zarif

TEHRAN, Jan. 20 (MNA) – Referring to AFC’s initial decision to ban Iranian teams from hosting 2020 ACL in Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the decision a non-sports and groundless action.

“Iran is the safest country in the region,” Said Zarif, adding, “I have taken necessary measures in this regard as it is clear that this is not a sports decision. We hope the problem would soon be solved.”

AFC has informed the Iranian football federation that Iranian teams should host their rivals in neutral venues during the 2020 AFC Champions League.

AFC’s Executive Committee has not issued the final ruling on the case yet but the initial decision has sparked harsh criticism towards AFC for mingling politics into sports. Meanwhile, the four Iranian teams have announced that they will participate in the event only if they can host their opponents in Iran.

The AFC's 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.

MNA/IRN83641125

News Code 154754

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