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Iran should not be allowed to play in the World Cup, says ex-Fifa president Sepp Blatter



CNN
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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter thinks Iran should be barred from the next World Cup in Qatar, a Swiss newspaper and online news site said on Friday.

The comments come amid nationwide protests that have gripped Iran for weeks following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in morality police custody.

Swiss channel ‘Blick’ showed a video of the former FIFA president speaking at his publisher’s headquarters on Thursday.

Blatter was asked by a reporter: “If you were still FIFA president today, would you let Iran – which is currently killing young women in the streets, which is sending weapons to Russia to attack Ukraine – play in the World Cup?”

“No,” Blatter replied, adding that he believes current FIFA President Gianni Infantino lacks the courage to take a clear stand on Iran.

“He is already having trouble creating a fund together with the Qataris – for all the workers who died building the infrastructure.

“I think it should be done by someone from FIFA who has the courage. But Infantino doesn’t even have the courage to give the journalists an answer.”

Iran is in Group B along with England, USA and Wales

FIFA did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on Blatter’s suggestion that Iran should be barred from the 2022 World Cup and his views on Infantino.

Blatter’s comments come weeks after a law firm sent a letter to FIFA on behalf of a group of former and current Iranian sports figures asking the football governing body to suspend the Football Federation of Iran (FFIRI) and ban it. to participate in this year’s World Cup in Qatar. 🇧🇷

The letter says that the Iranian football federation’s actions violate FIFA’s statutes and regulations.

“Iran’s brutality and belligerence towards its own people has reached a tipping point, demanding an unequivocal and firm decoupling from the world of football and sport,” reads a press release issued alongside the letter.

Other athletes in Iran have joined the protests.

After scoring a goal in the final of the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup, Saeed Piramoon imitated a haircut – a move that signals support for national protests in the country by calling for more freedom for women – an act that Iranian football authorities have vowed to deal with.

Meanwhile, soccer player Sardar Azmoun is in danger of losing the selection for the World Cup after criticizing the government.

“This is worth sacrificing for an Iranian woman’s hair,” Azmoun wrote in an Instagram story. “Shame on you who kills people so easily. Long live the Iranian women.”

Blatter’s comments aren’t the only criticisms the 86-year-old has leveled at the organization he ran.

Earlier this week, he told Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that “Qatar is a mistake”, adding that “the choice was a bad one”.

“It’s a very small country. Football and the World Cup are too big for that,” Blatter said of Qatar, the first Middle Eastern country to host the tournament.

“Since then, social considerations and human rights have been taken into account,” he added.

The World Cup kicks off on 20 November with Iran kicking off their campaign against England on 21 November.

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