Iranian football teams refuse to play in neutral venues

Tanya Simon
January 21, 2020

The federation stated that "the final position of the Iranian clubs and the federation will be announced in the following days", without explaining the reason behind the decision to ban the Champions League matches in Iranian territory.

Following a new released letter from the AFC Secretary General about hosting worldwide matches by the Iranian teams in the new season of the AFC Champions League, a meeting was held on Monday in the presence of Iran Football Federation officials and General Managers of the four clubs.

Iran called the AFC ban unacceptable, saying it was a "safe and powerful country".

Iranian football officials did not say if the decision was related to the accidental shoot-down of a Ukrainian jetliner last week, which killed all 176 people on board.

"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".

They have made the decision in response to a new letter from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)'s Secretary General.

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TEHRAN, The four teams representing Iran in the AFC Champions League - Persepolis, Esteghlal, Sepahan and Shahr Khodro - have announced that they will not play in neutral field.

Iran staggers under a USA maximum pressure campaign UU. after the president Donald Trump pulled his country from a milestone nuclear agreement in 2018 and again imposed sanctions on Tehran.

"It's still a recommendation by the Competitions Committee (at the AFC) that needs to be approved by the executive committee", the source said. We should not deprive our spectators from hosting games. "This is our absolute right and we insist on it", Bahrvand said.

"Iran is fully ready to host various teams as it has repeatedly proven during the past several years", a spokesman for the Iranian federation, Amirmahdi Alavi, said in a statement.

Iranian fans support their national football team during 2022 FIFA World Cup Asia qualifications Group C soccer match between Iran and Cambodia at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran. The AFC has yet to confirm whether there is a ban or not. Social media posts with the hashtag #ACLneedIranFans were trending on Twitter.

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