Saudis vow to boycott football in Iran, citing security fears
Saudi's Al-Ahli midfielder Salman Al-Muwashar (R) tries to dribble past Iran's Naft Tehran defender Saeid Lotfi (L) during their AFC Champions League football match at the King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz Stadium in Jeddah, on May 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO / STR STR / AFP
Tensions between Tehran and Riyadh are extending to the football pitch, with the Saudi football association saying it would not participate in international matches in Iran out of security concerns, citing the recent storming of its embassy.
Iran blasted the football decision, which follows the Saudi cutting off of diplomatic relations Sunday with Iran, after the weekend storming of the Saudi embassy by a mob in Tehran.
"FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have clear rules that politics has no place in football," Iranian football official Asghar Bagherian told ISNA on Thursday.
The first impact would be on Asian Champions League games involving Saudi and Iranian teams in January and February.
The Saudi decision is illogical and illegitimate, Bagherian said, rejecting a Saudi offer to hold the matches in other Gulf states.