Thursday, December 15, 2005

Greens want Iran World Cup expulsion; Fifa refuses

Bangkok Post
Berlin (dpa) - Germany's Green party called early this morning for Iran to be expelled from next year's World Cup, but world football's ruling body,Fifa,immediately rejected the demand, saying politics had no place in

The Greens proposed the punishment amid outrage over Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who this week denied that the Holocaust had happened as described in history books and called for a relocation of Israel.

"A country with that sort of president, who drags his country into isolation, has no business at the World Cup," said Angelika Beer, a German Green in the European Parliament, in an interview with RBB radio in Berlin.

Volker Beck, the party's federal whip in Berlin, agreed: "We should show Iran that this is not right and that this leads to consequences," he told Netzeitung, a Berlin online newspaper.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Greens co-chairman in the European parliament, called for a review of Iranian participation, saying, "This will get a serious-minded debate going in Iran."

Fifa spokesman Andreas Herren rejected the call. He told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa: "As far as Fifa is concerned, the issue doesn't come up. We strictly separate politics from sport."

He said Iran had properly qualified for the tournament, which is being hosted by Germany next year.

"We always tell politicians to keep out," he said.


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