Iran has hit out at former German footballer and coach Jurgen Klinsmann, demanding his resignation from the FIFA Technical Study Group for his comments after Iran’s 2-0 win against Wales.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Iran’s football federation accused Klinsmann of making judgments about Iranian “culture” while referring to his “dramatic dives” as a player and “shameful” episode in the 1982 World Cup.
After the thrilling finish in the Iran-Wales match on Friday, Klinsmann appeared on BBC and made controversial remarks about Iran that immediately sparked a furor.
“Yes, that’s their culture,” he said, in response to presenter Gabby Logan’s comments on Iran’s “gamesmanship”. “Their way of doing it, and that is why Carlos Queiroz fits really well [with] the Iranian national team.”
His comment that Iranian players “worked the referee” suggested that it was in Iran’s culture to engage in unsportsmanlike conduct and obstruct on-field referees.
He also derided Iran’s Portuguese manager Carlos Queiroz, saying he struggled with South America and Egypt before going back to Iran for a second stint.
Outrage on social media
Klinsmann’s comments have drawn anger and outrage in Iran, with football fans taking to social media to call him out.
Iran’s football federation said it was inviting the former German and Inter Milan striker to visit Team Melli’s training camp in Doha, ahead of the team’s match against the US on Tuesday.
“At this visit, it will be suggested to Mr. Klinsmann to review the 99 minutes of the Iran-Wales, even if the match was broadcasted worldwide already, and recognised as one of the most fair and beautiful matches of the World Cup history,” it said.
The statement by Iran’s football federation followed a series of tweets by Queiroz, in which he demanded Klinsmann’s resignation and apology while inviting him to the team’s training camp in Doha.
“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,” he wrote in the tweets.
In response, the former German footballer said his comments about the Iran national team were “taken out of context.”
“There was stuff really taken out of context. I will try to give him a call and calm things down,” he told BBC.
Klinsmann went on to say that he never criticised Carlos or the Iranian national team bench.
“Some even thought I was criticising the referee because he didn’t do anything about the way they were behaving on the bench.”