Iran president Ahmadinejad urged to sort out Clemente case

Iran Materials 16 February 2008 17:58 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Iran's parliamentary sports commission has asked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to help settle a dispute over the appointment of Javier Clemente as national team coach, ISNA news agency reported Saturday.

The commission has sent a letter to the president urging him to clarify the status of Spanish coach Clemente's contract and "avoid further waste of time."

The commission also voiced concern that ambiguities over Clemente would seriously endanger the Iranian national football team's qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Iran, the only Asian side without a head coach, began their World Cup qualification game with a disappointing goalless draw against Syria on February 6 in Tehran. The second game will be against Kuwait next month.

Iran's sports affairs at national level, including football, are dealt with by the government-affiliated Sports Organization, which is run by Ahmadinejad's deputy, Mohammad Ali-Abadi.

Despite the inked contract between Clemente and the Iranian Football Federation (FFI), both the government's and parliament's sports authorities are in dispute with the football federation over the coach's demand not to stay permanently in the country, but rather visit Iran when necessary.

Vice-President Ali-Abadi said that Iran did not need a "flying coach" and warned that if Clemente did not stay in Iran his contract would be nullified.

According to local press reports, Clemente has however once again stressed that a permanent stay in Iran would not be necessary. He is also said to prefer following the Iranian football league games using videos or satellite from Bilbao rather than live in Iran.

The FFI has reportedly set a new deadline for Monday for Clemente to accept the Iranian conditions to stay permanently in Iran or otherwise the FFI would look for "other options."