Monday, March 06, 2006

UN Security Council on Iran 'not a concern of FIFA'

FIFA has again responded to calls for Iran to be expelled from the 2006 World Cup because of the controversy over its nuclear activities and threats by its president to wipe fellow FIFA member, Israel "off the map", a top official said in Jakarta while touring with the World Cup trophy. "FIFA has nothing to do with politics," said Emmanuel Maradas (pictured right), a FIFA spokesman and special assistant to Sepp Blatter, the organization's president. "Iran is a FIFA member, they have qualified for the World Cup and they will be there to play football for the good of Iranian youth and for the good of peace."

Iran's national squad is scheduled to play its first match against Mexico in Nuremberg on June 11. The other teams in its qualifying Group D are Portugal and Angola. "Some critics have suggested the UN Security Council should act to ban the Iranian squad from the final tournament, Slobodan Lekic of AP commented. "The Security Council's decisions are not a concern of FIFA," Maradas said. "Iran will be welcome in Germany."

See also: AFC urges Iran FA to send its Articles of Association to FIFA (28 Feb) and : Iran claims offense over German football cartoon (15 Feb) and Iran still faced with calls for World Cup ban (26 Jan)

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