U.S., Iran fans mingle in Qatar ahead of World Cup clash
IRAN fans arrive at a bar in the southern city of Jiddah. PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images
Iran is hosting a football World Cup in 2022 but the team is struggling with a crisis over the leadership, reports say.
Iranians have been flocking to Qatar’s capital of Doha ahead of the 2022 World Cup which is being held this year in June.
Some football fans have been accused of violence and discrimination against Iranian expatriates.
The head of Iran’s soccer federation said the football World Cup will not be used to promote hate.
Iranian expatriate groups have threatened a boycott, while Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of supporters for what they say was hooliganism, violence against spectators and intimidation of police.
The situation is further aggravated by the presence of Iranian officials who have been arrested in a crackdown on those who support the team while visiting Qatar to prepare for the World Cup.
Iran’s Football Federation said Iran’s World Cup team would have to be disqualified if authorities were not able to ensure the safety of Iranian visitors.
But the Iran Cricket Board said the World Cup had no impact on cricket and only had marginal benefits.
“It is a big challenge for Iranian cricket to compete in the World Cup,” the body said in a statement. “The participation of the Iranian team will have no impact on cricket.”