Rouhani aide criticizes the AFC for moving matches out of Iran

January 22, 2020 - 17:40

TEHRAN - The Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) decision to move matches out of Iran is unprofessional and political, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, said on Wednesday, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The AFC shifted two preliminary matches in its elite club competition from Iran to other venues because of security concerns, Asian soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday.

“This is an unsporting and unprofessional move,” Vaezi said. “As we examine it we realize this has become a political issue.”

Four Iranian football clubs – Persepolis, Sepahan, Esteghlal and Shahr Khodro - 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.

AFC has wanted that the Iranian teams would not be hosting AFC Champions League matches for security reasons.

The General Managers of the clubs will travel to Kuala Lumpur to meet senior officials of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Thursday.

Shahr Khodro FC were scheduled to host Bahrain’s Riffa and Esteghlal FC were set to play Kuwait SC on Tuesday but both Asian Champions League matches were postponed after several governments issued warnings against traveling to Iran.

“To help facilitate the switch to neutral venues, which has been approved by the relevant AFC committees, the AFC will now reschedule the games to January 25, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates,” the AFC said in a statement.

Persepolis have been drawn to meet Al Duhail from Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s Al Taawon and United Arab Emirates champions Sharjah in the group phase of this year’s competition.

Sepahan are slated to meet Saudi champions Al Nassr, Qatar’s Al Sadd and a qualifier from the play-offs.

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