Iran complains to FIFA over cancellation of friendlies

July 21st, 2008 - 5:11 am ICT by IANS  

Tehran, July 21 (DPA) The president of the Iranian Football Federation (FFI) has complained to the sport’s governing body over the cancellation of friendly matches against Iran, calling them politically motivated, the ISNA news agency reported Sunday. In a letter to FIFA president Joseph Blatter, Ali Kafashnian specifically referred to England’s Charlton Athletic and Egypt’s national team, which called off two games with Iran scheduled for this month.

“Although the FIFA charter clearly states that political issues should never be involved in football, Charlton and Egypt cancelled their scheduled games with us (for political reasons),” Kafashian told ISNA.

Iran is preparing for the 2010 World Cup and desperately needs practice matches before its next qualifying game against Saudi Arabia Sep 6.

Charlton Athletic denied it pulled out of the game under pressure from the British government.

Kafashian, however, said Iran had documents proving the English team cancelled the game because of the recent missile tests by Iran and warnings by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that Israel could be the target of these missiles.

Egypt withdrew from a game scheduled for August 20 after Iran showed a documentary on state television glorifying the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and portraying his killer as a hero.

Many national teams have avoided playing test matches against Iran because of its controversial nuclear programme and anti-Israeli invective by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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