TEHERAN – FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino called on Thursday on tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia to be eased and to not affect any soccer events.
In a meeting with the Iranian Sport Minister Masoud Soltanifar, Infantino expressed his hope that the problem of holding matches between the two countries in their respective territories would be resolved.
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation in January 2016 prohibited Saudi clubs from playing matches against Iranian teams in Iran, shortly after Riyadh broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran.
Soltanifar asked Infantino to deal with this issue in conjunction with the Asian Football Confederation so that Iran could organize matches without the need to play in a neutral third country.
Infantino said that politics should never intervene in soccer, nor soccer in politics.
The FIFA President invited the Iranian Sports Minister and the President, Hassan Rouhani, to attend the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The Iranian team, led by Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, was put in Group B of the World Cup, along with Portugal, Spain and Morocco, and is scheduled debut on June 15 against Morocco in St. Petersburg.