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Iran-Saudi tensions play out on soccer field

The ongoing conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia is affecting the sports world as regional soccer associations struggle to satisfy both parties' location and security demands.
Yaghoub Karimi of Iran (L) challenges Husain Al Moqahwi of Saudi Arabia during their WAFF Championship soccer match in Kuwait City December 9, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (KUWAIT - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) - RTR3BEA1
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The rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia are spilling out onto the soccer field. First in the media, and later in a letter to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Saudi officials have asked for games between Iranian and Saudi teams to be held at a neutral venue. Iranian officials have meanwhile emphasized that they will not accept the latter. The AFC has announced that it will issue its final verdict on the matter on March 15, and that if the disagreement is not solved before then, games will take place at a neutral venue.

So far, both sides have been satisfied with the AFC’s decision. Iran constantly emphasizes the importance of separating soccer from politics.

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