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FIFA suspends Iran from all international soccer

Written by: Staff
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ZURICH, Nov 23 (Reuters) FIFA said today it had suspended Iran from all international soccer activity because of government interference in running the game in the country.

The move comes just five months after Iran took part in the World Cup finals in Germany and a week after Iran sealed their place in the 2008 Asian Cup finals, winning their qualifying group by beating South Korea 2-0 in Tehran.

FIFA's Emergency Committee, composed of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and one representative of each of the six FIFA confederations took the decision at a meeting yesterday.

In a statement FIFA said they had decided to ''suspend the Islamic Republic of Iran Football Federation (IRIFF) from all international activity due to government interference in football matters and violation of Article 17 of the FIFA Statutes.'' Article 17 relates to the independence of FAs free of any government interference.

The FIFA statement continued: ''The FIFA Emergency Committee took this decision after determining that the IRIFF was not adhering to the principles of the FIFA Statutes regarding the independence of member associations, the independence of the decision-making process of the football governing body in each country and the way in which changes in the leadership of associations are brought about.'' FIFA is demanding the establishment of an IRIFF Normalisation Committee appointed by FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

It also wants the IRIFF to draft new statutes and organise new elections.

In August 2006, FIFA and the AFC gave the Iranian federation a deadline of November15 to reinstate elected president Mohammed Dadgan and to comply with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Statutes.

As this deadline was not met, Iran has been suspended.

They are the second country to face such action in the space of a month. Kenya were suspended on October 24 for failing to respect signed agreements and for recurrent problems in its soccer ederation.

REUTERS SAM VC1911

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