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AFC warns Iran of sanctions ahead of Asian Cup

Iran has been warned of severe sanctions by AFC

Kuala Lumpur, November 14: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has warned Iran they could face sanctions ahead of Asian Cup 2019 over government interference in their national football association.

The AFC Asian Cup 2019 will be held at eight venues in the UAE from January 5 to February 1.

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 that they were "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."

The game's global governing body (FIFA0 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.

Iranian women are barred from entering stadiums, an impasse which FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura hopes to end soon.

A record crowd of more than 80,000 people watched the recent AFC Champions League second-leg final between Kashima Antlers and FC Persepolis at Tehran's Azadi Stadium.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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    Story first published: Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 14:17 [IST]
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