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FIFA lifts ban on Iran

Tokyo, Dec 17, IRNA-FIFA President Sepp Blatter Sunday said the world football's governing body has decided to lift its international ban on Iran.

Iran did not do very well at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and consequently its government promptly decided to fire the federation president and the entire board and install another president.

On November 22, the FIFA Emergency Committee, composed of the FIFA president and one representative of each of the six confederations, decided to suspend the Islamic Republic of Iran Football Federation (IRIFF) from all international activities due to government's interference in football matters and violation of Article 17 of the FIFA Statutes.

The IRIFF, however, convinced FIFA to remove the ban and allow the country's Under-23 side to compete at the 2006 Asian Games that ended in the Qatari capital Doha on December 15. The defending champion Iran took bronze and Qatar beat Iraq to celebrate the title.

The 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.

The Iranian federation had vowed to settle the problem through negotiations.

FIFA announced its decision after long talks ahead of Tuesday's draw for the 2007 Asian Cup finals.

"We have reached an agreement with Iran that allows it to take part in the draw for the Asian Cup," Blatter said in a press conference.

"This is a good outcome where football has shown its intentions when it comes to interference," added FIFA supremo.

Iran breathes a sigh of relief as the world body formally announces its decision Monday.

Blatter expressed his gratitude to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Mohammed bin Hammam, who acted as a moderator.

"I'm grateful to the political leaders in Iran for understanding that we're not dealing with the internal running of their country," Blatter said.

... Payvand News - 12/17/06 ... --

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