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Iran Kicks Out Soccer Official for E-Mail to Israel

The head of Iranian football apologized for an e-mail New Year’s greeting that accidentally reached Israel and cost a top official his job.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 1/3/2010, 10:38 PM / Last Update: 1/3/2010, 10:35 PM

Flash 90

The president of the Iran Football Federation (IFF), Ali Kaffashian, has apologized to the Iranian people for an e-mail New Year greeting that was accidentally sent to Israel’s football federation.

The e-mail is sent every year to members of the worldwide FIFA soccer organization, but this time around, someone forgot to delete the "Zionist regime," as Iran calls Israel, from the list of recipients. The oversight ended up with the IFF’s booting out Mohammad-Mansour Azimzadeh Ardebili, Director of IFF foreign relations’ office.

Officials in Iran claimed that the e-mail reached FIFA employee Amir Navan, an "Israeli of Iranian origin," who forwarded it to the Israel association, but Ali Ardebili admitted that the message was sent to all FIFA members and that he forgot to delete Israel.

He sent the letter to all football unions around the world and said the e-mail to the Israel Football Association was a mistake. The Israeli group responded, "We thank you for you Happy New Year greeting and wish all of the good people in Iran a happy new year.” A “wink” was added in the return e-mail.

Iran previously has revolted at the idea of having anything to do with Israeli athletes. At the 2008 Olympics in China, the Iranian regime ordered its swimmer to pull out of a race rather than swim in the same pool in which an Israeli swimmer was competing.