Iran's football wrangle continues

Iran football federation are yet to respond to Fifa's and the AFC's demands.

    An Iranian football fan shows her support during the Asian Football Cup [GALLO/GETTY]

    Iran's beleaguered football federation is yet to respond to demands by the sport's top bodies to halt political interference in its domestic game, 10 days after promising to find a solution.

    The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said that following a high-level meeting with an Iranian sports delegation in Kuala Lumpur, nothing had been resolved.

    "The AFC has not yet received a response from the Iranian delegation since last week's visit," a spokesman said.

    Football's top bodies and the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) have been at loggerheads for months over the IFF's refusal to bar members of the state-run Physical Education Organisation (PEO) from running in its presidential elections.

    Fifa and the AFC last week agreed to allow officials from the powerful PEO to become members of the IFF's general assembly but refused to let a politician take the top post.

    The Iranian delegation said it would inform the AFC of how it planned to tackle the problem within 48 hours of the meeting but the AFC are still in the dark.

    The dispute surrounds the candidacy of Mohammad Aliabadi, one of Iran's vice-presidents, head of the PEO, and prime candidate to win an election that was initially scheduled for December 6.

    That poll was postponed after Fifa said it would not recognise the result.

    Iran were temporarily suspended from international matches in November last year because of political meddling in domestic football, mainly by the PEO.

    A number of officials and high-profile coaches have been removed since president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a football fan, took office in 2005.

    The standoff has prevented Iran from hiring a new national team coach ahead of 2010 World Cup qualifiers starting in February.

    German Winfried Schaefer and former French national team coach Jacques Santini are reported to be candidates for the post.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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