Canada skips soccer friendly shows political influence on sport: Spox

Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi has chastised Canada for canceling a friendly soccer match with Iran, saying it shows the influence of politics on sports in the West.

“The unilateral cancellation of the Iranian national football team’s game against Canada is another example of the impact of politics on sport,” Jahromi wrote in a post on his Instagram page on Friday.

He said Canada made the decision despite claiming not to allow political considerations to influence sporting decisions.

The Iranian official’s remarks came after Canada Soccer, the governing body of football in Canada, announced on Thursday that it had called off the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 friendly match with Iran, which was to be held in Vancouver on June 5.

More than 40,000 tickets had been sold for the game at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

The Iranian team was due to arrive in Canada next Wednesday as part of preparations for the FIFA World Cup scheduled in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

“Over the past week, the untenable geopolitical situation of hosting Iran has become significantly divisive and, in response, the match has been called off,” Canada Soccer said in a statement on Thursday.

“Although we took external factors into account when selecting the optimal opponent in our initial decision-making process, we will strive to do better in the future.”

Jahromi further said that Western sanctions against Russian athletes are another example of their policy prioritizing freedom and human rights.

Such actions by the West come as it refuses to take similar action regarding other countries that are accused of initiating military actions or even those accused of genocide and other terrorist actions. , noted the spokesperson.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s Deputy Chief Justice and Secretary of the High Council for Human Rights also denounced Canada’s decision to cancel the friendly football match.

“Canada’s decision to cancel a friendly with Iran is a testament to the fact that the so-called land of the free cannot stop politics from entering the field,” he said in a tweet. Friday.

An Iranian sports ministry official said on Thursday that the country’s soccer federation would seek $10 million in damages from the Canadian soccer body for calling off the match.

Sina Kalhor, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Sports and Youth, said the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) will seek compensation from Canada.

“The unilateral cancellation of the Iran-Canada match by Canada Soccer showed once again that the motto of non-political athletics is a hedge towards [realization of] Interests of Western countries,” he tweeted, adding that compensation will be sought through legal channels.

On Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh accused Canada of politicizing the match and warned that Canada Soccer would be held liable for any breach of its agreement with the Iranian Football Federation if the match was called off. .

It came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a friendly against Iran “wasn’t a very good idea”, criticizing his country’s football boy for his intention to host the game.

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