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Berlin football officials hail Iran's women soccer match as promoting cultural dialogue

By Saeid Najar Nobari erlin, May 11, IRNA - Berlin football officials on Thursday said the upcoming friendly between Berlin's local amateur women's football club SV Al Dersimspor and Iran's women's national football squad was aimed at promoting cultural dialogue and understanding.

Speaking at news conference at the Berlin Football Federation, the Chairman of BSV Al Dersimspor Battal Akdag said, "The game between our club and the Iranian women's football team is also a cultural event. Football is an international language which symbolizes peaceful co-existence."

Akdag's remarks were echoed by the deputy spokesman of the German Interior Ministry, Christian Sachs who welcomed the June 1 Dersimspor -Iran encounter as a "meeting of cultures".

"It's a meeting with a common language which in this case is football," he added, pointing out that the game will take place almost one year after Germany's successful hosting of the 2006 world Cup.

Referring to Iran's presence at last year's World Cup, Sachs praised the Iranian men's national football team as "fantastic ambassadors of their country".

The German official added that this match was also part of an ongoing "dialogue with Islam".

The head of the Berlin Football Federation Bernd Schultz voiced his delight over the visit of the Iranian women's team in the German capital.

"We are deeply impressed by this initiative which is also supported by the head of the German Football Federation (DFB) Theo Zwanziger and the DFB Secretary General Horst R.Schmidt. It will be an unique sports event for us as football links people," Schultz said.

The Berlin football chief added that the Iran match will be a good promotion campaign for German efforts to stage the 2011 women's football World Cup.

FIFA is expected to announce its decision in August as to which country will host the 2011 World Cup.

Meanwhile one of the main organizers of the Iran-Dersimspor game, Silke Guelker said that there has been a very positive response by the Berlin-based Iranian community.

She added that there are also plans for a training match between Iran's women footballers and another local amateur club, due to be held on June 3.

Asked about Iran's standard of playing, Dersimpor coach Mehtap Ardahanli pointed out that the Iranian squad played at a "very high level" in last year's 2-2 draw between the two teams at Tehran's Ararat Stadium.

Ardahanli said she anticipated a sold-out stadium for the Berlin- Iran match.

One of Ardahanli's players Marlene Assmann who had been the key nitiator in organizing last year's match in Teheran, said that the Iranian Football Federation had from the very early beginning supported her idea to plan such a match.

Assmann who is producing a documentary about the games in Tehran and Berlin, said that friendships have developed between the German and Iranian players during last year's face-off.

She pointed out that Iran is a strong team, as evidenced by its recent vice championship at the Western Asian Games.

Iran's female national football squad will arrive in Berlin on May 31 and depart Germany on June 4.

... Payvand News - 5/12/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/12/07 ... --

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