The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) recently sent a letter to Iran’s soccer federation stating that any matches with Iranian teams will be hosted in a third country. According to the Associated Press, the Iranians did not say if the letter gave a reason behind the country being prevented from hosting soccer games. The AFC also did not comment.
One can only assume the mistrust is related to the Iranians accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian jetliner with a surface-to-air missile on January 8, killing all 176 people on board.
Iran’s federation, which has a whopping four teams, said it would meet with officials to voice its opposition to the AFC’s decision.
“Iran is fully ready to host various teams as it has repeatedly proven during the past several years,” said Amirmahdi Alavi, a spokesman for the Iranian federation, published by AP.
Evidently, other countries being unwilling to send their soccer teams to Iran is nothing new. Last season the Iranian teams played Saudi teams in the United Arab Emirates because the Saudi teams did not wish to travel to Iran. The two countries severed diplomatic relations in 2016.