Iran to sue Nigeria over cancelling friendly game

Iran to sue Nigeria over cancelling friendly game

Iran will sue Nigeria for cancelling an international football friendly between the two nations, the president of the Iranian Football Federation (FFI) said Tuesday, dpa reported.

   Nigeria was scheduled to play against Iran on Wednesday in what was supposed to be the last test for Iran ahead of the Asian Cup to be held in January 2011 in Qatar.

   "We have had a contract with Nigeria and the game was an important test before the Asian games," FFI president Ali Kafashian told the ISNA news agency.

   "Therefore, we will definitely sue the Nigerian Football Federation and demand compensation," Kafashian added.

   According to the FFI president, Nigeria informed Iran that it had to postpone the game as its foreign-based players could not join the national team.

   But Kafashian said that as Wednesday was a FIFA day, all players could have joined a game by their national teams.

   Due to political problems and especially because of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial remarks about Israel and the Holocaust, the FFI has had problems in the last five years finding suitable national teams ready to play friendlies against Iran.

   Nigeria's decision to postpone the game is also believed to be of a political nature as the two countries had been involved in a dispute after an arms shipment landed at a Nigerian port, apparently sent from Iran for Nigerian politicians intending violence in case they lose in the upcoming elections.

   Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday that the issue was a "misunderstanding" and has been settled.

   Iran coach Afshin Qotbi said that after the game against Nigeria was cancelled, the national team would play against itself by dividing the players into two teams.

   He also asked the fans to come to the stadium for this game as it would be the last game played in Tehran before the continental tournament.

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