June 21, 2024

Open letter to Windsor John, AFC General Secretary about ACL match venues

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Thursday, 8th February 2018

Dato’ Windsor John
General Secretary
Asian Football Confederation
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Via E-Mail:

Dear Mr. John,
I am writing on behalf of Iranian football fans of all colors; reds, blues, yellows, greens and indeed the entire Iranian football community, to protest the Asian Football Confederation’s recent decision to force Iranian clubs to play their home matches against Saudi clubs in Muscat, Oman.

We have seen the two letters the Association of Iranian Veteran Sports Journalists sent to you directly. Therefore, we should not repeat the sequence of events that you are very well aware of.

We have also noticed you have not responded to a simple question why you have chosen to completely disregard the Iranian Football Federation’s letter of 30th January and indeed that of Qatar Football Association that the two home matches of our clubs against their Saudi opponents would be played in Doha.

Undoubtedly, you are aware of the passion of Iranian football fans. Football plays an important role in our society. Our fans have followed our country’s representative clubs and national teams in continental and international competitions with huge interest since the 1960’s. We are amongst the most ardent, if not the most ardent fans, in Asia.

Iranian football fans are the harshest critics of our own federation and club management staff. Equally, and in this most recent saga, we are even more appalled by the actions of a Confederation that we not only feel, but also firmly believe, is influenced by certain member associations. This latest saga concerning Tractorsazi and Esteghlal’s Champions League home venue, we can only detect an external ploy against us.

It is time you were held accountable to Asian Football fans for once and all. We are asking you to respond to the simple question of our veteran journalists, which is ours as well, in a transparent manner.

Why have you not taken into account the 30th January 2018 letter of the Iranian football federation in which they introduced Qatar as the host venue for Tractorsazi and Esteghlal? Why have you chosen to ignore that letter and forced Oman as the host venue to our clubs three days after the receipt of the Iranian federation’s 30th January letter advising you that Qatar would be hosting our clubs’ home matches?

You should be serving Asian football and hundreds of millions of Fans across the continent. We are holding you to account. We demand an answer to our question. You are treating your member associations differently. Saudi clubs have been given the chance to choose their venues while you are forcing a venue to our clubs.

And last, but not least, for the sake of credibility of the Asian Football Confederation, you need to revisit your decision of March 2016 with respect to matches involving Saudi and Iranian football sides and allow those matches at club and national level to take place in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

We are tired of seeing politics interfering with our beloved game across Asia, and especially in our corner of the continent. Far from trying to act in a manner to ensure all are treated equally in Asia, your actions of the past few years and in specific the last week have only strengthened our suspicions of how politics interfere with the running of football in Asia.

We demand an answer. Your silence with regards to the 30th January letter of our federation is an admittance of guilt that you conspired with other parties to force a neutral venue onto our clubs We look forward to you breaking your silence regarding the above and respecting fans of Asian football whose passion you promote to generate sponsorship dollars.

Kamran Delan
Webmaster – Persianfootball.com
E-Mail: webmaster@persianfootball.com
On behalf of Iranian Football Fans