Iran prepares response to AFC

IFF looks to end the feud between itself, Fifa and the AFC.

Iran training

The Iran football team during Asian Cup [Al Jazeera]

Officials from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have stated that Iranian football officials have announced that they intend to respond in two days to demands by Fifa and the AFC to stop politicial interference in the sport.

After a lengthy meeting in Kuala Lumpur with the AFC, a delegation from the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) and the government’s Physical Education Organisation (PEO) agreed to return to the Malaysian capital in 48 hours with a decision as to how to end the impasse.

Football’s top bodies and the IFF have been at loggerheads over Iranian body’s refusal to bar members of the PEO, which has run all sport in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, from running in its presidential elections.

FIFA and the AFC agreed to allow officials from the PEO to become members of the IFF’s general assembly but voiced strong objections to them becoming president.

The standoff surrounds the candidacy of Mohammad Aliabadi, one of Iran’s vice-presidents, head of the PEO, and prime candidate in an election that was initially scheduled for Thursday.

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

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

Several top officials and high-profile coaches and managers have been replaced since president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a big football fan, swept to power in 2005.

The IFF is keen to elect a new president as soon as possible so a national team coach can be hired ahead of 2010 World Cup qualifiers starting in February.

Iranian media has so far linked German Winfried Schaefer and former French national team coach Jacques Santini to the vacant post.

Source: News Agencies