By Farrokh Hesabi

Sports minister Soltanifar slams U.S. sanctions against Iran

May 9, 2021 - 18:12

TEHRAN - Iran’s Minister of Sports and Youth, Masoud Soltanifar, slammed the international sanctions against Iran and mentioned them as the root of “the most of the current problems of Iran’s sports” in a webinar with provincial sports managers on Sunday.

Over the years, sanctions against Iran, mostly imposed by the United States, have taken a serious toll on Iran’s economy in different domains, including sports.

“The Iranian football federation, as an example, has not been able to use its funds at the FIFA. Also, Iranian football clubs, who have participated in continental competitions, were not awarded their prize money relating to the AFC Champions League,” Soltanifar said.

“The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) owes more than $3m to Persepolis club that has reached the AFC Champions League final twice in the last three years. Other Iranian clubs, such as Esteghlal and Tractor, should be also paid money rewards by advancing to the knockout stages of the ACL,” he added.

According to the AFC and FIFA rules, any financial payments to be made by these football governing bodies are subject to all applicable laws, regulations, orders, by-laws, and international sanctions. They cannot pay financial assistance as operating funds or money prize to the Iranian teams due to the international sanctions and Iran’s place on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist.

The country’s minister of sports said that he had negotiations with the presidents of both FIFA and the AFC, Gianni Infantino and Sheik Salman, respectively, to solve the problems. However, they have not fulfilled their promises.

“Before the final match of the 2020 ACL, I spoke with the presidents of FIFA and the AFC, and there have been several correspondences so far. They promised to address the issue, but we have not seen the slightest practical steps or actions toward solving the problems,” Sotanifar added.

Soltanifar called the imposed sanctions on Iran are “unfair and cruel.” He asked FIFA and other sports’ international governing bodies to review the conditions of Iranian federations and give them the financial resources that legally belong to the Iranian teams or federations.

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