May 20, 2024

FFIRI chief says frozen assets in FIFA, AFC amount to over 33 mln dollars

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Xinhua Net – KUALA LUMPUR, Mehdi Taj, president of Iran’s Football Federation, announced that the country has over $33 million in assets frozen in FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) due to U.S. sanctions.

During an interview with Iran’s state-run IRIB TV on Friday, Taj discussed the nation’s attempts to recover the assets from FIFA and AFC. He stated that Iran’s financial claims from FIFA and AFC are $28 million and between $5 million and $6 million, respectively. While FIFA supports Iran’s claims, the funds remain inaccessible because foreign banks cannot transfer them due to the closure of the country’s SWIFT code, a result of U.S. sanctions.

Taj mentioned a recent meeting between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and FIFA President Gianni Infantino on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. During this meeting, Raisi emphasized to Infantino that “when FIFA insists that politics is separate from football, it should be careful not to let politicians interfere in running his organization, and that blocking Iran’s funds is essentially a political move.”

Infantino reportedly informed Taj of a meeting set for Oct. 24 in Paris. If the issue remains unresolved by that date, it will be a primary topic of discussion. Additionally, a workshop is planned in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, on Oct. 3 and 4. An Iranian delegation will attend, and the topic of Iran’s blocked assets will be on the agenda.

Taj clarified that the majority of the frozen funds belong to the Iranian Football Federation, with a portion allocated to the country’s football clubs.

The U.S. sanctions on Iran, which were heightened after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018, have posed challenges to the Iranian banking sector, making money transfers to and from the nation difficult.