The U.S. sanctions forced Wilmots to quit Iran

March 4, 2020 - 1:40

TEHRAN – Belgian coach Marc Wilmots has said that he parted company with Iran national football team after the Iranian officials failed to pay his wages due to the U.S. sanctions.

He left his role as head coach of Team Melli, just seven months after replacing Carlos Queiroz at the helm of the three-time Asian champions.

“Two years after parting company with Ivory Coast, I received an offer from Iran last year. It was a great project for the next three years until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. However, we parted ways at the end of the last year because we have not been paid for five months. Besides me, my assistants were not paid,” Marc Wilmots said in an interview with RTV Slovenija.

“Iran national football team have players who are physically strong and skilled. Their Performance Elite Center (PEC) is one of the world's most advanced center. I didn’t want to work in Team Melli but thinking about Carlos Queiroz, who worked there for eight years, I decided to accept their offer. I thought, that means you can work long term and set up the system,” he went on to say.

“The Iranian national team play more defensively, and I started to introduce more offensive tactics. The start was great. We beat Syria 5-0, we drew 1-1 with South Korea and defeated Cambodia 14-0. After political disputes with the U.S., the atmosphere in the country was getting worse and worse, and above all, the federation was running out of funds,” the Belgian coach added.

“Now I have time. There are offers but I have time to decide. I don't want to rush into a hasty decision. I want to change my mind and decide on the right offer. I don't care if I work at a club or a national team,” Wilmots said.

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