On Thursday, the National Football Association said Canada had canceled a friendly between the men’s team and Iran next month following widespread opposition to the game.
No reason was given to call off the game, which was due to be played June 5 in Vancouver and would have marked Canada’s first home run since March, when they qualified for the Nov. 21-December 21. 18 World Cup in Qatar.
The game drew opposition from politicians and families of Canadians who died aboard a Ukrainian airliner shot down by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards near Tehran in January 2020.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had also said he felt it ‘Bad idea’ to invite Iran’s national team to Canada.
“Over the past week, the precarious geopolitical situation of hosting Iran has become extremely divisive, and in response, the match has been cancelled,” Canada Soccer said in a statement.
“Although we took external factors into account when choosing the optimal opponent in our initial decision-making process, we will strive to do better in the future.”
Football Canada also said it would review the process for hosting international matches and was working on an alternate opponent.
A Canadian special crime team produced a report in mid-2021 accusing Iran of incompetence and recklessness in the downing of a Ukrainian airliner. Iran criticized the report, calling it “highly politicized”.
The report found that although the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was not premeditated, it did not complete the responsibility of Iranian officials for the crash.
Iran has admitted shooting down the plane shortly after taking off from Tehran and blamed it on a “catastrophic error” by forces on high alert during a confrontation with the United States.