Canada Soccer cancels controversial game against Iran that was set for next month

Canada Soccer says it has cancelled a controversial exhibition game against Iran set for next month in Vancouver.

The international match, which was scheduled for June 5 as part of the preparations for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year, drew the scorn of the families of those who died aboard Flight PS752 when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the plane in 2020.

All 176 passengers and crew members on board the aircraft were killed, including 85 Canadians and permanent residents.

The families said the exhibition match was an insult to those seeking justice for their loved ones who died in the tragedy — especially given persistent concerns about the IRGC’s possible ties to Iran’s team.

Canada Soccer made the announcement Thursday on Twitter promising to provide additional details to all ticket purchasers. 

Canada Soccer was under heavy pressure to call off the nearly sold-out match at BC Place.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart condemned the game and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said again earlier this week that he thought the game was “a bad idea” and distanced his government from the $400,000 the sporting organization was paying Iran’s national team to come to Canada.

“I can assure you that Sport Canada has not delivered any funding for this game,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Vancouver on Tuesday.

Conservative MPs Matt Jeneroux and Richard Martel joined those calls this week, asking Canada Soccer to scrub the match.

“Hosting the Iranian national soccer team as victims of Flight PS752 are still suffering and seeking compensation is reprehensible and will only further serve to legitimize the Iranian regime,” the MPs wrote in a media statement.

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