Canada Soccer cancels Iran friendly amid opposition

Canada Soccer has canceled a friendly match between the men’s national team and Iran next month, the national governing body said on Thursday after there was widespread opposition to the game.

No reason was given for the cancellation of the game, which was due to be played in Vancouver on June 5 and would have been Canada’s first on home soil since March, when they qualified for the November 21-December game. 18th World Cup in Qatar.

The match had drawn opposition from politicians and the families of Canadians who died on board a Ukrainian passenger plane that was shot down by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards near Tehran in January 2020.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said he thought it was “a bad idea” to invite the Iranian team to Canada.

“Over the past week, host country Iran’s unsustainable geopolitical situation has become significantly divisive and the game has been canceled in response,” Canada Soccer said in a statement.

“While we considered the external factors in our initial decision-making process when choosing the optimal opponent, we will strive to be better in the future.”

Canada Soccer also said it would conduct a review of its process for hosting international matches and work to find an alternative opponent.

A special Canadian forensic team prepared a report in mid-2021 accusing Iran of incompetence and recklessness in shooting down the Ukrainian passenger plane. Iran criticized the report as “highly politicized”.

The report noted that while the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was not intentional, Iranian officials were not absolved of responsibility for the incident.

Iran admitted shooting down the airliner shortly after takeoff from Tehran, blaming a “catastrophic error” by forces on high alert during a confrontation with the United States.

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