Wilmots resigns as Iran coach

Marc Wilmots has resigned as coach of Iran after six matches in charge. (Reuters)
Updated 05 December 2019

Wilmots resigns as Iran coach

  • Marc Wilmots: Contrary to the information published in the Iranian press, no amicable agreement between the Iranian federation, myself and my staff has been found
  • Iran sit in third place in their qualifying group for Qatar with six points from four games after defeats to Iraq and Bahrain

BRUSSELS: Belgian Marc Wilmots announced he was leaving his position as coach of Iran after six matches in charge which included a 14-0 victory over Cambodia, he said on Twitter.
“Contrary to the information published in the Iranian press, no amicable agreement between the Iranian federation, myself and my staff has been found,” he posted on Wednesday.
“We are in negotiations in order to find an amicable solution after a failure to respect contractual obligations by the Iranian federation after the justified termination of the contract,” Wilmots, who led Belgium’s golden generation to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, added.
The ex-Belgium boss took charge of Team Melli in May after a six-game stint with the Ivory Coast in 2017.
In November he also said on the platform he and his staff were in an “intolerable situation” due to serious contractual violations by the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI).
Earlier in the year, the Belga news agency reported the FFIRI had paid Wilmots late and he had threatened to resign with his contract running until the 2022 World Cup.
Iran sit in third place in their qualifying group for Qatar with six points from four games after defeats to Iraq and Bahrain, the two countries in the spots to reach the tournament in three years’ time.
Croatian Branko Ivankovic has been linked by German and Belgian press to replace Wilmots.


Riyadh to host inaugural Saudi international cycling race

Updated 22 January 2020

Riyadh to host inaugural Saudi international cycling race

  • This new race represents an exciting organizational challenge, a coherent sporting event for an entire category of riders

JEDDAH: Sports chiefs are gearing up to announce the Saudi city venue for a new international cycling race set to take place in the Kingdom.

Chairman of the Saudi General Sports Authority Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal is expected to reveal on Thursday that Riyadh will host the five-stage Saudi Tour 2020 from Feb. 4 to 8.

The inaugural edition of the 2.1 category race is being staged by Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), the organizer of the world-famous Tour de France.

Details of the route in and around the Saudi capital were due to be released during a press conference at Riyadh’s Digital City.

The cycling event precedes the Tour of Oman (Feb. 11 to 16) which is facing cancelation following the death of Sultan Qaboos.

ASO chief executive, Yann Le Moenner, said: “We are involved in the emergence of a new racing scene in the Middle East, which corresponds to the riders’ demand at the beginning of the year.

“The creation of the Saudi Tour and its sustainable installation in the calendar is part of this movement. This new race represents an exciting organizational challenge, a coherent sporting event for an entire category of riders, and a nice opportunity for the television viewers who follow the race to discover new landscapes.

“This is also, for us, an occasion to contribute to the development of cycling across the Kingdom,” he added.

Saudi Cycling Federation chief Sabah Al-Kraidees said it was an “honor” to have the inaugural Saudi Tour, noting that the event would help to promote the Kingdom as a tourist destination.

“The Saudi Tour is a great opportunity to publicize the country’s varied territories and historic sites and to let visitors discover our sense of hospitality. This initiative fits perfectly with the ambition of Saudi Arabia to promote the Kingdom beyond its borders through sports and especially cycling,” he added.

The five-day event will feature stages in the hills around Riyadh and on urban circuits.

The Kingdom recently began issuing tourist visas after travel to the country was largely limited to pilgrims, business travelers and resident workers.