The Canadian men's national soccer team has canceled a friendly match against Iran that was scheduled to take place on June 5 in Vancouver, Canada's soccer governing body announced on Thursday
OTTAWA (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th May, 2022) The Canadian men's national soccer team has canceled a friendly match against Iran that was scheduled to take place on June 5 in Vancouver, Canada's soccer governing body announced on Thursday.
The friendly match, which was scheduled in preparation for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, sparked controversy as top officials and various activists have claimed going ahead with it would be offensive to the victims of the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 near Tehran two years ago.
"Canada Soccer has canceled the international match that was scheduled for 5 June, 2022 against Iran as part of the men's national team preparations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022" the governing body said in a statement via Twitter.
An activist group representing some of flight PS752 victims' family members welcomed the decision. Hamed Esmaeilion, a spokesperson for the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims, said via Tweeter.
On January 8, 2020, flight PS752 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran's international airport after being shot down by the Iranian military. The incident claimed the lives of all 167 passengers on board the airplane - mostly Canadian and Iranian citizens - and nine Ukrainian crew members.
A Canadian court has ruled that Tehran had deliberately downed the Ukrainian airliner - deeming the incident an act of terrorism under the Criminal Code of Canada - in spite of an Iranian-led investigation that concluded that PS752 was brought down inadvertently.
Tehran has admitted that its missile brought down the passenger jet, however, rejects allegations that the strike was premeditated. The Iranian military maintains it was on high alert at the time of the accident, which happened hours after it fired missiles at two US bases in Iraq in retaliation for a drone strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.