AFP ATTA KENARE
Iranian Minister of Sports and Youth, Masoud Soltani Far, commented on the AFC decision not to grant Iran the right to host the matches of its group in the Asian double qualifiers.
The Iranian minister considered that not granting Iran the right to host the matches of its group in the double Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the AFC Asian Cup in China 2023, as well as any of the AFC Champions League qualifiers, is part of the ban scheme against Iran.
This came in a statement by the Minister of Sports during a meeting with the president of the Iranian Olympic Committee, Reza Salehi Amiri, assistant for the development of heroic and professional sports, Mahdi Ali Nejad, President of the Football Association, Shihab Azizi Khadem, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatib Zadeh and Hamid Reza Asefi, to discuss the recent decision taken by the Federation. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) did not grant Iran the right to host the double qualifiers and the AFC Champions League.
Soltani Far confirmed that the AFC’s obstructive and unfair actions towards Iran are endless, and said: We will use all our diplomatic, legal and sporting energies to change the AFC decision.
Soltani said that Hong Kong, Cambodia and Iraq did not apply to host the group’s teams, and only Iran and Bahrain had applied to host, but in a controversial decision, the AFC granted Bahrain the right to host.
Sultani confirmed Iran’s right to host, explaining: We sent a letter a week ago to FIFA President Gianni Infantino and AFC President Sheikh Salman, in which we indicated that Iran, over the past eight years, has been the top Asian in the FIFA rankings. Asia is now ranked second, and we said that Iranian football and its fans are in the leading position in the Asian continent, and that the results achieved by the Iranian team in the World Cup in Russia are among the best results of the Asian teams, and our clubs have achieved good results in recent years.
Regarding the measures taken, the Minister of Sports said: We spoke with Zarif and briefed him on the issue. The President of the Football Association had a meeting with him and provided the necessary clarifications. He also conducted correspondence with the heads of the International and Asian Federations.
Iran and Bahrain play in Group C, along with Iraq, Hong Kong and Cambodia.
Source: Fars News Agency