Iran’s participation at AFC Asian Cup at risk

November 14, 2018

TEHRAN - Iran national football team could miss the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in January over a law interfering in the national soccer federation’s independence.

The AFC said in a statement issued late Tuesday that they were "closely monitoring the current issues" and that the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) stressed that it was a non-governmental organization.

"All Member Associations must fulfil their duties without any third party interference either from the Government or the Parliament," said the statement.

"The AFC has a zero tolerance policy towards any third party interference in their Member Associations and hopes that, with less than two months to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, the FFIRI can maintain its independence and avoid any sanctions."

Football world governing body FIFA suspended Iran in November 2006 from participation in international football on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association. The ban was lifted after less than a month.

The AFC says it hopes Iran’s soccer body “can maintain its independence and avoid any sanctions” less than two months before the Asian Cup starts in the United Arab Emirates.

Iran, the best Asian team at No. 30 in FIFA’s rankings, have been drawn with Yemen, Iraq and Vietnam.

Team Melli will open their campaign with a match against Yemen on Jan. 7 in Abu Dhabi.

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