Queiroz stays clear of Iran govt policies

Aug 29, 2017 - 7:40 AM Carlos Queiroz says he will not allow "external factors" to influence his decisions as Iran head coach and maintains that Masoud Shojaei was let out of his squad to face South Korea on Thursday for football reasons.

Iran, who have already qualified for next year's World Cup finals, travelled to Seoul without veteran midfielder Shojaei, who, along with compatriot Ehsan Hajsafi, featured for Greek club Panionios against Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv in a Europa League playoff on August 4.

The Iranian government does not recognise the state of Israel, and athletes from the country who compete against their Israeli counterparts have been banned in the past from representing Iran.

"Hajsafi and Shojaei have no place in Iran's national football team any more ... they crossed Iran's red line," the country's deputy Sports Minister Mohammad Reza Davarzani.

The move prompted FIFA to ask Iran's FA to provide further information on the situation. FIFA's statutes ban political interference in its affiliated national associations, which can be suspended if the rule is breached.

If a country's FA is suspended, it means both the national team and its clubs are barred from international competition.

However, with Hajsafi named among the 23-man squad to take on the Koreans at Seoul World Cup Stadium, Queiroz said Shojaei had been excluded for purely sporting reasons, though he did not elaborate on them.

"Imagine if Carlos Queiroz starts to explain why Masoud Shojaei is not here," he told Reuters.

"I never gave explanations about my team selections at Real Madrid or Sporting or the Portugal national team. Why should I give explanations now?"

Queiroz has become a hugely popular figure in Iran during a successful spell in charge that has seen him guide the country to back-to-back appearances at the World Cup for the first time in the nation's history.

Iran appeared at the finals in Brazil in 2014, when they were eliminated at the end of the group stage, and have already secured their place in next year's finals despite having two qualifiers remaining.

Source: AAP

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