Iranian football teams stand against AFC’s decision

January 18, 2020 - 14:47

TEHRAN – Four Iranian football clubs have announced that they will take a strong stand against the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after it decided to ban them from hosting their rivals in Iran.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has sent a letter to the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) wanting them that they would not be hosting AFC Champions League matches for security reasons. 

An extraordinary meeting was immediately held on Saturday at the FFIRI’s headquarters to address the situation and the managers of the four clubs representing Iran in the upcoming ACL emphasized that they will withdraw from the tournament if the AFC insists on its decision.

“We’ve sent a letter to AFC, acknowledging them we will withdraw from the competition if they want to ban our country from hosting the matches,” FFIRI acting president Heydar Baharvand said. “The four Iranian clubs will stand against the AFC’s unfair decision and the federation will support whatever decisions they make.”

“The majority of the Iranian people are not satisfied with the AFC’s decision and it’s an insult to our nation. To host the competition is our right and we will strongly defend our right,” he added.

“We will not accept the situation and our clubs will not budge an inch on their decision to withdraw from the competition and the federation as well as Iran’s Sports Ministry will support them. Iran is a safe country and our league is the highest attended in Asia. There is no reason to play in neutral field,” Baharvand stated.  

Iranian football teams Esteghlal and Shahr Khodro are scheduled to play Kuwait SC and Riffa in the 2020 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage Two. Persepolis and Sepahan have already learned their rivals in the ACL Group Stage.

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