Monday, December 18, 2006

Suspension removed as Iran agrees to follow FIFA

The world football body FIFA has lifted Iran’s suspension from international football, making it eligible for next week’s Asian Cup draw. President Sepp Blatter said emergency talks had yielded a deal with authorities in Iran, which was suspended last month over government meddling. “We reached an agreement with the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and we will say yes, Iran can participate in the draw for the Asian Cup,” Blatter told a press conference reported by AFP.

“This is a good outcome where football has shown its intentions when it comes to interference,” Blatter said. The deal was brokered by Asian Football Confederation president Mohammed bin Hammam, Blatter said. “I’m grateful to the political leaders in Iran for understanding that we’re not dealing with the internal running of their country,” he said. “If you participate in FIFA everybody has to abide by the FIFA statutes, otherwise they can stay in their country.”

UPDATE

On 19 December FIFA officially informed the Islamic Republic of Iran Football Federation that the suspension imposed on it on 23 November 2006 had been lifted. The FIFA Emergency Committee, composed of the FIFA President and one representative of each of the six confederations, took the decision to lift the ban on 18 December as a result of a series of cooperative negotiations between FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation, the IRIFF and the Physical Education Organisation of the Islamic Republic of Iran as reported by Iran Football:

The negotiations resulted in the establishment of a Transitory Board ('Haiet Raiseh Enteghali' in Farsi) of the IRIFF, jointly recognised by FIFA and the PEO, with the following duties: the management of Iranian football at national and international levels; the drafting and ratification of new statutes for the IRIFF based on the FIFA Standard Statutes; the organisations of elections for the future leadership of the IRIFF, based on these new statutes and with the support of FIFA and the AFC.

The Transitory Board is to be composed of Mohsen Safaei Farahani as chairman, Qumars Hashemi as deputy chairman and Mohammad Hassan Ansarifar, Dr Hassan Ghafiri, Dr Mohammad Khabiri and Ali Reghbati as members. It is planned that the whole process of transition will be completed by 31 March 2007.

With this commitment, the IRIFF is now in a position to normalise its structure and statutes in accordance with the FIFA and AFC regulations. This development signifies that the objections raised by FIFA, which gave rise to the suspension of the IRIFF, have been removed.

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