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Soccer-Iranian players question authorities' commitment to World Cup
September 2, 2017 / 7:10 AM / 23 days ago

Soccer-Iranian players question authorities' commitment to World Cup

HONG KONG, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Senior members of Iran’s national team have launched a thinly-veiled attack on the country’s soccer authorities over their perceived lack of support in the build-up to next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

Former Fulham winger Ashkan Dejagah, who led Iran during their 0-0 draw with South Korea in Seoul on Thursday, was one of seven players to publish a statement on Instagram questioning the commitment shown by their soccer authorities to the team.

“It seems like nobody here (in Iran) realises that we are now on our journey to the World Cup,” said the statement.

“We are all tired in this team. Nowadays, even victory does not have a value. Here, even our success is an orphan.”

The Iran Football Federation were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

The post was also published on the accounts of Alireza Haghighi, Vouria Ghafouri, Jalal Hosseini, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Karim Ansarifard and Ehsan Hajsafi.

It praised the support shown by South Korea’s authorities in their country’s attempts to qualify for Russia and said the atmosphere created by the fans at Seoul World Cup Stadium was like a ‘furnace’.

“They did this so that when the game finished the result on the scoreboard of the stadium would be recorded in their favour,” the statement added.

”A country was mobilised, from top to bottom.

“We wish they would take the behaviour of the officials of the country and the South Korean federation as a role model.”

Carlos Queiroz’s team qualified for next year’s finals in June when they defeated Uzbekistan to seal the top spot in Group A of Asian qualifying.

They have played at four previous World Cup finals, but never progressed beyond the group stages.

Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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