Canada Soccer cancels men’s game against Iran after criticism

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Canada Soccer issued a statement on Thursday morning to announce that the match had been cancelled.

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Canada Soccer has ended the men’s national team exhibition game against Iran scheduled for June 5 at BC Place in Vancouver amid backlash for hosting the Iranians.

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Canada Soccer issued a statement on Thursday morning to announce that the match had been cancelled.

“Canada Soccer has canceled the international match scheduled for June 5, 2022 against Iran as part of the men’s national team preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Further details will be provided to all purchasers of tickets.

The match against Iran was one of three scheduled for Canada in the June international window. Canada will host Curaçao on June 9 at BC Place, then travel to Honduras on June 13 for two Concacaf Nations League matches.

The scheduling of the exhibition match against Iran drew criticism across the country, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

According to the federal government, 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed when Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by two Iranian surface-to-air missiles shortly after taking off from Tehran en route to kyiv on January 8, 2020 . .

When asked earlier this month if his government was granting visas to Iranians for the game, Trudeau disagreed with Canada Soccer.

“It was a Soccer Canada choice,” Trudeau said. “I think it was not a very good idea to invite the Iranian football team here to Canada, but that’s something the organizers are going to have to explain.”

Canada Soccer responded with a statement following Trudeau’s comments.

“At Canada Soccer, we believe in the power of sport and its ability to bring together people from different backgrounds and political persuasions for a common purpose. Iran is one of 32 member associations participating in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Canada Soccer continues to follow all international protocols when hosting this game. We are focused on preparing our Men’s National Team to compete on the world stage.

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On Wednesday, Canada Soccer announced the line-up for the three games, which included the return of Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies, who had not played for his country since November.

Davies helped Canada beat Mexico 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier at the Commonwealth Stadium, then missed the last six qualifiers after developing myocarditis following a fight against the COVID-19 in mid-December, according to his club coach in Germany. He returned to the pitch in April and helped Bayern win their 10th straight German Bundesliga title.

Davies began his professional football career with the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS before moving to Germany, where he won four German league titles, two German Cups, two German Super Cups, a UEFA Champions League title, a UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. Cup.

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Canada’s National Men’s Team has not played since ending its World Cup qualifying campaign in March. They clinched a spot in the 32-team tournament in Qatar with a 4-0 win over Jamaica at BMO Field in Toronto on March 27.

Canada had never qualified for a men’s World Cup since their only other appearance in 1986 in Mexico.

Canada has been drawn into Group F at the World Cup in Qatar, where it will face Belgium on November 23, Croatia on November 27 and Morocco on December 1. The top two teams in the group will advance to the next round of the tournament.

The World Cup will take place from November 21 to December 18 this year, pushed back from the summer months due to the intense heat in Qatar.

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On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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