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Blatter defends Iran's reinstatement in football

FIFA issued a ban on Iran's Football Federation on November 22, 2006.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 22:54 IST

FIFA president Joseph Blatter has defended the world football body's decision to allow Iranian football team to participate in the 15th Asian Games that started in Doha on Friday.

"We are not the police, but if we are informed by the federation, we have to do something. That is why we tried to find a solution."

"We did not want to penalise the players, who were already on their way to play in this competition," he said at a press conference in Doha.

FIFA issued a ban on the Islamic Republic of Iran Football Federation (IRIFF)on November 22, 2006 due to the alleged government interference in football matters.

But the ban was temporarily lifted on Monday to allow the players take part in the Asian Games.

"We gave them a roadmap how to reach the situation that they are no longer suspended from the organisation and it is up to them to follow this. They have a few days to do so. We do not want them not to play football," said Blatter.

"They have already started implementing this roadmap that we gave them, so we said that the suspension would be temporarily lifted to allow them to play."

Asked if Iran could still be thrown out of the competition if they failed to implement the changes agreed with FIFA, Blatter said that would not happen.

"They are currently with us in Zurich and working things out. I am sure that everything will be in place, so Iran can play at these Games."

Blatter confirmed that he would contest against for top FIFA post in 2007.

"I told the FIFA congress earlier this year that if they wanted me to, I would like to continue my work.

"My work is not yet finished. In 2007, we want to introduce a programme of football's social responsibility. In that, we will be working closely with other organisations like the UN and their agencies, like UNICEF and UNESCO."

He said that it was too early to say how many World Cup places Asia would have at the next finals.

"We have to be fair, but we also have to take other matters into consideration.

"The World Cup pays for all the football development that goes on and we need to defend the quality of this competition to make sure that we can continue with football development."

Blatter also said that he was confident that the Gulf region could host the World Cup.

First Published: Dec 01, 2006 22:54 IST