FIFA lift ban on Iran for Asian Games
November 27, 2006 6:36pm CST
World football's governing body FIFA has temporarily lifted its ban on Iran so it can take part in the Asian Games football competition after frantic behind the scenes manoeuvering. "The ban has been provisionally lifted. The team can participate in the Asian Games," FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Monday. It followed what Blatter called "alarming phone calls" from Iranian authorities and the country's ambassadors in Europe after Iran, the defending champions, were tossed out of the Asian Games which start this week in Qatar. "We have agreed with Iran a route that needs to be respected. We have given them until December 5 to do so," he said without going into details. "In the meantime, together with the Asian Football Confederation, we have agreed to make sure they can participate in the Asian Games. "If they fully agree to our roadmap to a normalisation of the situation, then we will lift the ban altogether. "If the promises are not applied, then the ban will remain effective and it will affect the Asian Cup draw (on December 19). FIFA suspended Iran last week due to government interference in running the game and non-adherence to their statutes. FIFA's Emergency Committee said Tehran had violated Article 17 of the FIFA Statute, which relates to the independence of national football associations free of any government interference. In August, following the national team's World Cup failure in Germany, the Iranian football federation's elected president, Mohammed Dadkan, was sacked, following complaints by lawmakers. Both FIFA and the AFC set a November 15 deadline for Iran to reinstate Dadkan and to comply with the FIFA statutes, but Iran refused to meet the deadline. Iran football chief Dariush Mostafavi said they would now work to meeting FIFA's demands. "We have informed FIFA that we will adhere to all of their requests," he was quoted as saying by Iranian national news agency ISNA. "We plan to announce our commitment to FIFA and finalise the agreement to bring an end to the suspension of the national team."