Sports

Canada Soccer Cancels Iran Friendly After Outcry

May 26, 2022
1 min read
Team Melli was due to play a deeply controversial friendly in Vancouver on June 5
Team Melli was due to play a deeply controversial friendly in Vancouver on June 5

A scheduled friendly between the Iranian and Canadian national football teams has been cancelled, Canada's national football body said on Thursday.

Iranian football stars, their coaches and - invariably - handlers from Iran's security agencies had been due to fly to Vancouver for the game on Sunday, June 5.

But the plan attracted widespread condemnation, particularly from the Association of Families of Flight 752 Victims, who said it was a "slap in the face".

They and other critics of the Islamic Republic in Canada also argued hosting Team Melli sent the wrong message due to Tehran's record of egregious human rights abuses, and posed a potential security threat.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart had also condemned the game, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters twice in a week that he thought the game was "a bad idea" 

Canada Soccer had already paid Iran's national team $400,000 for the exhibition game and their visas were understood to have already been approved by the time of the cancellation.

At the time of writing there had been no official reaction from Tehran or the Iranian Football Federation.

 

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