Iran football team and coach Carlos Queiroz called on Jurgen Klinsmann to resign from a FIFA experts panel on Sunday after the former Germany striker accused the Iranians of gamesmanship in their World Cup win over Wales.
Klinsmann, a member of FIFA’s seven-member technical study group that is analysing the World Cup in Qatar, took aim at Iran’s antics following their 2-0 Group B win against Wales on Friday.
The former USA coach said a series of niggling fouls and the conduct of the Iranian coaching staff during the game was part of a deliberate strategy to make opponents “lose their focus”.
“This is not by coincidence. This is all purposely. This is part of their culture, that’s how they play it,” Klinsmann said while working as a studio analyst for the BBC.
“They work the referee – you saw the bench always jumping off and working the linesman and the fourth referee on the sideline. Constantly in their ears, constantly in your face on the field... this is their culture. They make you lose their focus, make you lose your concentration and what’s really important to you.”
Klinsmann’s remarks drew a furious response from Iran’s football federation and Queiroz, who branded the German World Cup winner’s remarks a “disgrace to football.”
Queiroz invited Klinsmann to visit the Iranian camp at the World Cup but finished the statement saying he would only be welcome if he stepped down from his FIFA role.
Full text of Carlos Queiroz’s statement:
You took the initiative to call me Carlos, so I believe it is proper to call you Jurgen. Right?
Even not knowing me personally, you question my character with a typical prejudiced judgment of superiority.
No matter how much I can respect what you did inside the pitch, those remarks about Iran Culture, Iran National Team and my Players are a disgrace to Football.
Nobody can hurt our integrity if it is not at our level, of course.
Even saying so, we would like to invite you as our guest, to come to our National Team Camp, socialize with Iran players and learn from them about the Country, the people of Iran, the poets and art, the algebra, all the millennial Persian culture… And also listen from our players how much they love and respect Football.
As American/German, we understand your no support. No problem.
And despite your outrageous remarks on BBC trying to undermine our efforts, sacrifices and skills, we promise you that we will not produce any judgments regarding your culture, roots and background and that you will always be welcome to our Family.
At the same time, we just want to follow with full attention what will be the decision of FIFA regarding your position as a member of Qatar 2022 Technical Study Group. Because, obviously, we expect you to resign before you visit our camp.
Iran’s federation meanwhile drew attention to Klinsmann’s reputation for “famous dramatic dives” during his career, as well as Germany’s involvement in the infamous 1982 World Cup clash with Austria known as the “Disgrace of Gijon”, when both sides appeared to agree on a mutually beneficial result that eliminated Algeria.
“Iran Football Federation already asked for FIFA immediate clarification on this matter, demanding Mr Klinsmann apologies (sic) and resignation of his duties as FIFA Technical Study Group member,” the Iran Football Federation said.
Iran face the United States in a politically charged final Group B game on Tuesday, where a win would put them through to the last 16.
In a response that was posted on BBC, Klinsmann said, “There was stuff really taken out of context. I will try to give him a call and calm things down.”
With input from AFP