Canada Soccer calls off planned friendly match with Iran in face of rising criticism

·1 min read

TORONTO — Canada Soccer has cancelled a planned friendly with Iran in the face of growing criticism.

In a one-paragraph statement, the governing body gave no reason for the cancellation of the scheduled June 5 game at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver.

But the idea of hosting the Iranian team, ranked 21st in the world, has drawn fire since it was first announced.

At issue is whether Canada should be hosting Iran given the Canadians who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 when it was shot down on Jan. 8, 2020, minutes after taking off from Tehran, by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. The Canadian government says 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the game "wasn't a very good idea," pointing the finger at Canada Soccer. Conservative MPs added their voice to the protest on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims called for Canada Soccer "to cancel the game immediately."

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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