Iran risks FIFA ban

TEHRAN – Iran could be banned from international football ahead of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup over a law interfering in the national football federation’s independence.

Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) president Mehdi Taj must leave his post due to the law barring the employment of retirees in government, state or public institutions which use state funds or facilities.

BUT, Taj is not going to withdraw his presence at the Iranian federation’s headquarters in Tehran and the AFC and FIFA will back him because they have a zero tolerance policy towards any third party interference in their Member Associations.

According to the AFC and FIFA, the FFIRI must maintain its independence to avoid any sanctions.

Furthermore, Iranian football clubs Persepolis, Esteghlal, Zoba Ahan and Saipa are in danger of knocking out of the AFC Champions League.

The AFC has already said that they were “closely monitoring the current issues” and that the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) stressed that it was a non-governmental organization.

“All Member Associations must fulfil their duties without any third party interference either from the Government or the Parliament,” said the statement.

Football world governing body FIFA has previously suspended Iran in November 2006 from participation in international football on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association. The ban was lifted after less than a month.

Iran, the best Asian team at No. 29 in FIFA’s rankings, have been drawn with Yemen, Iraq and Vietnam.

Team Melli will open their campaign with a match against Yemen on Jan. 7 in Abu Dhabi.

Reporting by Masoud Hossein