Iran Officially Asks AFC to Respect Iranian Clubs' Venue Rights

Iran Officially Asks AFC to Respect Iranian Clubs' Venue Rights
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Published February 8th, 2018 - 18:46 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Iran Football Federation logo

The Iranian Football Federation demanded the AFC in an official request letter to respect the right of the Iranian clubs to select an impartial third party pitch for home matches against Saudi teams in the AFC Champions League.

Secretary General of Iran Football Federation (IFF) Mohammad Reza Saket in a letter to the General Secretary of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) reiterated the Iranian clubs' declared decision on neutral venues in third party states to host the Saudi football teams in home matches based on the venue rights envisaged for all members to the confederation.

"The Iranian football clubs present in the AFC Champions Leage should be free to select a neutral pitch in compliance with their hosting rights the same way the Saudi teams have been able to choose their stadiums and cities to host the Iranian teams, and will accordingly host Iran in Emirates and Kuwait," Saket underscored in his letter.

"Hence, the Iranian Football Federation asks the AFC to respect the Iranian clubs' right to choose Qatar as the pitch they intend to host the Saudi teams," he added.

Saudi and Iranian football teams have been playing in neutral venues ever since Riyadh claimed that its athletes would be in danger if they traveled to Iran. Tehran denied the allegation, saying that the Saudi federation has been mixing politics and sports in a completely politically-driven move ordered by senior rulers in the country ever since tensions started in political ties between the two states some two years ago.

Meantime, journalist and football expert Ali Khalifa said Iranian clubs, specially Persepolis and Esteghlal, are among the top ten world football clubs in terms of the number of fans and the Saudis have raised such allegations in order to escape away-matches against the fervent football fans of these teams that have made home-matches for Iranians a great advantage against even European teams.

"When Australia were criticized for not scoring any better result but a 1-1 draw against Iran in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers in Tehran, Bobby Robson who headed the Aussies then said no one could score any better in the hell that we were in at Tehran's Azadi stadium, referring to 100 thousand energetic spectators who were fanning their Team Melli to the last minute in the match," Khalifa told FNA.

After Saudi Arabia deteriorated ties with Qatar last year, there were speculations that Riyadh would start another spat with its Arab neighbor to have their football clubs meet in impartial venues, but the Saudis were forced to voice consent to continue home and away matches in Doha and Riyadh.

Meantime, the AFC has been pressuring Iranian teams to select Oman as an impartial pitch for meeting the Saudi clubs in AFC Champions League in flagrant violation of the members' hosting rights. Iranian clubs have stressed that Qatar is their choice for meeting the Saudi teams.

©2018 Fars News Agency. All rights reserved

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