A Saudi soccer team refused to play an Iranian squad on Monday, reportedly due to a statue on the sidelines depicting slain Iranian commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani, an indication of the continued complexities of Iran-Saudi relations.
What happened: The Saudi soccer team Al-Ittihad was in the Iranian city of Isfahan for a match against the Iranian club Sepahan at Naghsh-e Jahan Stadium. The game was part of the annual Asian Football Confederation’s Champions League. The second round of the league's group stage began on Monday.
However, the confederation released a statement on Monday evening local time saying the match “has been canceled due to unanticipated and unforeseen circumstances.”
Saudi media outlets including Al-Arabiya and Arab News reported that Al-Ittihad left the stadium due to the presence of a statue depicting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Soleimani.