TORONTO (AP) – The Canadian Football Association has canceled a controversial Test match against Iran following criticism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The meeting, originally scheduled for June 5 in Vancouver, will not take place, the association announced.
However, no specific reason was given for this. The encounter, which was only officially announced on 12 May, was intended to be part of Canada’s preparations for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
In mid-May, politician Trudeau said, “I don’t think it was a good idea to invite the Iranian football team here to Canada. But the organizers have to explain that.” The invitation was controversial because a plane was shot down shortly after take-off by Iranian forces near Tehran on January 8, 2020. Among the 176 people killed on the plane were 55 Canadians and 30 other residents of the country.
The Iranian Ministry of Sports condemns Canada’s decision and demands millions of damages. Deputy Minister Sina Kalhor tweeted that Canada’s unilateral denial proved that Western states’ claims that the game should not be politicized proved absurd. The deputy minister said Iran would take legal action against Canada, seeking cancellation and damages of ten million US dollars (9.3 million euros).