Iranian President Rouhani Says Country Is Ready To Host Major Football Events
Iranian President Hassaan Rouhani said that "Iran is fully prepared to host major international football tournaments," according to Shervin Gilani of the TEHRAN TIMES. In a meeting with FIFA President Sepp Blatter in Tehran on Wednesday, "Rouhani discussed the future of Iranian football and its ability to host the Asian Cup" in '19. Rouhani said, "Today, football is not only a sport, but the shining players are countries' peace ambassadors to football fields." Blatter elaborated, "There is also a change in Iran, and that's why I'm also honored to meet President Rouhani and to speak with him about the future of the country and the future of football because Iran is a big country and has big football" (TEHRAN TIMES, 11/6). The AFP reported "Blatter has given his support to Iran's bid to host the 2019 Asian Cup." Iran "won consecutive Asian Cups" in '68, '72 and '76, hosting the '68 and '76 tournaments. A total of eight countries submitted bids to host the '19 finals, "with Bahrain, China, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates joining Iran." The next tournament in '15 "will be held in Australia, with Iran currently on course to qualify" (AFP, 11/7).