Iran: Football chief says Iranian teams to stand against home game ban

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**RESTRICTIONS: NO Access Israel Media/Persian Language TV Stations Outside Iran/Strictly No Access BBC Persian/VOA Persian/Manoto-1 TV/Iran International**

The acting president of the Iranian Football Federation reacted to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s reported decision to ban Iranian sides from hosting international club matches on Iranian soil over security reasons.

Speaking in Tehran on Saturday he said that the four affected Iranian clubs have agreed not to hold matches in neutral countries, as was reportedly demanded of them by the AFC as a condition of their participation in the AFC Champions League.

“The decision of the clubs and our federation is that, if this verdict is implemented, none of them [Iranian football clubs] would play outside Iran and it is us who have to be the host, and this is our people’s right,” said Heidar Baharvand.

“If the decision is finalised, we will absolutely leave these competitions,” he added.

It is as yet unclear whether the AFC’s decision is linked to the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jetliner over Iran earlier this month.

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