Canada Soccer to conduct 'thorough review' after canceling Iran friendly

Naomi Baker - FIFA / FIFA / Getty

Canada Soccer will conduct a "thorough review" of its processes for scheduling international matches, the country's governing body said Thursday after canceling a controversial friendly between the Canadian men's team and Iran.

"Over the past week, the untenable geopolitical situation of hosting Iran became significantly divisive, and in response, the match was canceled," read a statement from Canada Soccer.

"While we considered the external factors in selecting the optimal opponent in our original decision-making process, we will strive to do better moving forward.

"Canada Soccer will be conducting a thorough review of our processes for the hosting of international matches to ensure no stone is left unturned in our pursuit of excellence both on and off the pitch, including consultation with all stakeholders. We are committed to creating respectful and inclusive environments for teams, players, and fans."

Earlier on Thursday, Canada Soccer issued a short statement announcing the cancelation of the men's national team's World Cup tune-up game against Iran on June 5.

The decision came in the wake of mounting criticism from Canadian politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said "it wasn't a very good idea" for Canada to invite the Iranian national team five days after the friendly was announced, according to The Associated Press.

Family members of victims who died when Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down on Jan. 8, 2020, were also among those who expressed concerns about the match, which was scheduled to take place in British Columbia.

The passenger jet went down shortly following takeoff in Tehran after being hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. There were 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents among the 176 people killed, according to the Canadian government.

Canada Soccer added that it is working to find an alternative opponent.

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Canada Soccer to conduct 'thorough review' after canceling Iran friendly
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