A British member of parliament says international football (soccer) governing body FIFA should stop Iran from participating in the World Cup for its supply of weaponry for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Labor MP Chris Bryant, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia and former Foreign Office minister, told Telegraph Sport on Monday that any country founded to have “provided military support” for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion should be banished from world sport. 

He called on FIFA to make a move before Iran’s national football team’s opening match against England.

Referring to FIFA and UEFA’s decisions to throw Russia out of the international football events in the wake of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, including from March’s World Cup play-offs and the entire 2024 European Championship, he said, “Sporting authorities around the world and in every sport should be looking very carefully at Iran’s direct engagement and support for Putin in his illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

“Dictatorial regimes relish sporting success. We should deny them that opportunity,” he noted.

Since March, many Iranians themselves have been urging FIFA to ban Team Melli from the World Cup for forcibly barring women from entering stadiums to watch matches. Under FIFA pressure, Iranian authorities started to let in a cherrypicked group for women so they would not face bans and penalties. However, since the start of the current uprising across Iran and a lackluster support from the national squad, the calls on FIFA to ban Iran have become stronger.


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