Crisis-hit countries can play World Cup qualifiers in Iran
Iran’s stadiums will host home games of national football teams from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan due to conflicts in the countries.
Iranian Football Federation President Ali Kafashian said the teams, whose countries are gripped by violence, could play their games in the preliminary round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia in Iran.
The teams each have four home matches to play in the round. Afghanistan and Syria are in Group E along with Cambodia and Japan while Iraq, the strongest of all, will take on Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia in Group F.
Kafashian, who held talks with officials from the three countries, said the initiative demonstrates Iran’s “international credibility”.
“If the Asian Football Confederation agrees…, we should hold 16 games in the World Cup preliminary round in our country.”
Afghanistan will face Japan in Tehran’s Azadi stadium and will play one of its games in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Kafashian said, adding that the Iraqis were eager to play their games in the western city of Kermanshah, near the border with Iraq.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia is scheduled to take place between June 14 and July 15, 2018.