The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has sent a letter to the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) noting that Iran is banned from hosting international soccer matches.  

On Friday January 17, the Iranian Football Federation (IFF) received an official letter from the Asian Football confederation (AFC) in which it says that Iranian soccer teams will henceforth be banned from hosting Asian Soccer League Championship matches, adding that future matches will be played in “neutral countries,” most likely the neighboring United Arab Emirates.

"The Islamic Republic Football Federation has received an official letter from the AFC that said it had decided to hold the future Asian Soccer League Championship hosted by Iran in 'neutral' countries," Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported on January 17.

Federation chief Heidar Baharvand said the federation and managers of the four teams playing in the AFC Champions League held an extraordinary meeting on Saturday and decided unanimously to reject the decision, according to Al Jazeera.

"The Iranian Football Federation, clubs and officials unanimously oppose it and will definitely stand up to this decision," said Baharvand.

Baharvand reportedly told state television that if the ban was not reversed, all teams would withdraw from the AFC Champions League. Iran has four teams - Persepolis, Esteghlal, Sepahan and Shahr Khodro - in the league.