FIFA head expects Iran to be reinstated

December 1, 2006

DOHA, Qatar -- The head of soccer's world governing body expects Iran to meet FIFA's requirements for full reinstatement in time to avoid expulsion from the Asian Games.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Iran could be kicked out of the Doha Games if it fails to meet a Tuesday deadline for membership compliance. But he said he expects the Iranians, who had meetings this week at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland, to comply.

"They will do it because they are now working in Zurich with our people to have it ready," Blatter said Friday at a news conference.

Iran was suspended from international competition last week after FIFA accused it of government interference in the national soccer federation. The suspension was temporarily lifted by FIFA on Monday, allowing the team to defend its Asian Games title pending changes at the national federation.

Despite missing an earlier deadline to reinstate elected soccer federation president Mohammed Dadgan, Blatter said Iran contacted FIFA and pledged compliance with the sport's regulations.

Iran, which played in the 2006 World Cup, won Asian Games titles in 1974, 1990, 1998 and 2002. It kicked off its title defense with a 3-1 victory over the Maldives on Wednesday.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press