FIFA, the world soccer's ruling body has decided to lift its
international ban on Iran, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced on
FIFA's decision came after 11th hour talks before Tuesday's draw
for the 2007 Asian Cup finals.
"We have reached an agreement with the Iran football federation
that will allow Iran to participate in the draw for the Asian Cup,"
Blatter told reporters. "It comes into effect from tomorrow. I put
an embargo on it for today but I know you will not respect it. I
hope our Iranian friends won't mind."
FIFA's executive committee suspended Iran from all international
competitions last month due to government interference in running
the country’s game.
A solution had looked beyond both sides with Blatter describing
how FIFA had received "alarming phone calls" from the
However, emergency talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran
Football Federation (IRIFF) involving FIFA and Asian Football
Confederation chief Mohamed Bin Hammam yielded a breakthrough.
"I am grateful that the government of Iran understands that we
are not interfering in national politics," Blatter said before
Sunday's Club World Cup final in Yokohama. "If you are part of the
FIFA family then you have to observe FIFA regulations. I am also
grateful to Mohamed Bin Hammam who acted as the moderator in this
FIFA's ban came only five months after Iran took part in the
World Cup in Germany and only a week after they secured a place in
next year's Asian Cup finals.
Iran's under-23 team were allowed to participate at this month's
Asian Games in Doha as a concession but FIFA's suspension provoked
fury in soccer-mad Iran.
Kenya was also banned in October for failing to honor agreements
and for chaos crippling the African nation's troubled
(China Daily December 18, 2006)