The Iranian Football Federation (FFI) has finally elected a new president in a move aimed at ending a row with FIFA over political interference in the running of the game.
“Ali Kafashian, as the sole candidate, was approved…after the pro-government candidate withdrew his nomination on Tuesday night,” Iran’s ISNA news agency said.
FIFA and the AFC (Asian Foootball Conference) had refused to let a politician take the post, arguing that it would amount to government interference in Iranian football.
FIFA and the FFI have been in dispute over country’s refusal to exclude members of the state-run Physical Education Organisation, headed by Iran’s vice president Mohammad Aliabadi.
Aliabadi withdrew from the race last month under orders from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Another pro-government candidate, Shahrokh Shahnazi, withdrew on Tuesday, paving the way for Kafashian’s unopposed run.
Kafashian’s first task should be appointing the new national team coach as Iran’s first World Cup qualification game will be on February 6 against Syria in Damascus.
“The FFI transitional committee has proposed (Portuguese Artur) Jorge as new coach … but nothing is clear yet as the issue should first be evaluated by an experts team,” ISNA quoted
Kafashian as saying.