AFC warns Iran over government interference in football

Iranian parliament passed a law barring the employment of retirees in government, state or public institutions which use state funds or facilities, which applies to the current president of the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) Mahdi Taj and a number of other board members.

FIFA suspended Iran in November 2006 from participation in international football on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association. (REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE)   -  AP

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has warned Iran it could face sanctions ahead of January's Asian Cup over government interference in its national football association.

It follows the Iranian parliament passing a law barring the employment of retirees in government, state or public institutions which use state funds or facilities.

Local media reported that the law applied to the current president of the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) Mahdi Taj and a number of other board members.

The AFC said in a statement issued late on Tuesday that it was “closely monitoring the current issues” and that the FFIRI stressed that it was a non-governmental organisation.

“All Member Associations must fulfil their duties without any third party interference either from the Government or the Parliament,” said the statement.

“The AFC has a zero tolerance policy towards any third party interference in their Member Associations and hopes that, with less than two months to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, the FFIRI can maintain its independence and avoid any sanctions.”

Football world governing body FIFA suspended Iran in November 2006 from participation in international football on the grounds of governmental interference in the national football association. The ban was lifted after less than a month.