Iran, S. Arabia to play in neutral venue as before: AFC official

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 7, IRNA – A senior official of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said that Iran and Saudi Arabia's football teams will continue to play in neutral venue as before, because no new decision has been made to this end yet.

“There was no discussion about Iran. Whatever changes we have to do or we must to do is based on regulations that allow us to make changes, so at the moment there is no issue coming out from any associations,” The AFC General Secretary Windson John said in an exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic Bews Agency (IRNA).

He added, “As I mentioned the decision was not about Saudi and Iran. Decision was about Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. The Exco (Executive Committee) through the competition committee has already made decision about Iran and Saudi Arabia before, so until that decision is changed, a decision will be made. We have to follow the decisions.”

He emphasized that the decision that was made by EXCO “is for matches between Saudi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. That’s a new decision.”

“We have new decision the AFC EXCO made about Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE that all matches should be played in a home and away format according to the regulations and violations of these regulations will be dealt with according to the rules,” John said.

There were reports on November 29 that AFC has ordered the Iranian and Saudi Arabian teams to not meet each other in neutral venues as was previously ruled in 2016 that the two should compete in games in imprtial venues.

The report triggered the Saudi side who claimed that the AFC decision shows its submission to Iran's will.

Iran says it is the safest country in the Middle East to host football games as it hosted Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq matches in the recent years.

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