Canada cancels Iran friendly football match

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was opposed to the game and hinted Iranian team may not be allowed into the country

The decision comes after weeks of criticism by the Canadian government over the World Cup fixture due to be held in Vancouver. AFP
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Canadian football authorities on Thursday cancelled an upcoming friendly match against Iran following criticism by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Canada Soccer has cancelled the international match that was scheduled for June 5, 2022 against Iran as part of the men's national team preparations for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022,” the agency said in a brief statement.

No further information or reason for the cancellation was given, but the decision comes after weeks of criticism by the Canadian government over the World Cup fixture due to be held in Vancouver.

Criticism of the decision to schedule the fixture was led by families of passengers killed when Iranian armed forces shot down a Ukraine International Airlines flight shortly after take off from Tehran on January 8, 2020.

Eighty-five Canadian citizens and permanent residents were among the 176 people who perished in the tragedy, which the Iranian armed forces later described as a mistake.

Mr Trudeau said on Tuesday that he was opposed to the game, in remarks to Canadian media, hinting that the Iranian team may not be allowed into the country.

“I've expressed my concern that I think this game was a bad idea. I can assure you that Sport Canada has not delivered any funding for this game,” Mr Trudeau said.

“And in terms of the ability of those players to come to Canada and the teams to come to Canada, the border services agencies make professional and independent decisions on eligibility for people to come to Canada.”

Updated: May 26, 2022, 3:26 PM
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