Official terms AFC decision ‘political’

TEHRAN, Mar. 14 (MNA) – A high-ranking sports official of Iran has termed the AFC’s decision to deny Iran’s hosting rights in the World Cup qualifiers as political.

“Today, we held a meeting with Sports Minister Masoud Soltanifar, President of Football Federation Azizi Khadem, deputy Sports Minister Alinejad and a representative from Foreign Ministry,” President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Islamic Republic of Iran Reza Salehi Amiri said on Sunday.

“[The AFC’s] decision was political and they seek to isolate Iran in the international arena,” he said.

The remarks came after the AFC announced that it has chosen Bahrain to host the remaining matches of the Group C of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers as the body earlier opted for staging the matches in a centralized manner. This is while Iran was originally slated to host three of the matches against Bahrain, Iraq, and Hong Kong.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already written a letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, said Salehi Amiri, adding that the NOC is also following up the issue with Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee.

All capacities have been mobilized to back football as the AFC’s decision is unjust, stressed the official.

He blamed Bahraini President of the AFC, Sheikh Salaman, for the decision, noting that Iran will continue consultations.

MAH/ 5169197

News Code 171077


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