FIFA threatens Iran’s Football Federation with suspension

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Football Federation on May 15, 2019 shows the new coach of Iran's national football team, Marc Wilmots, (C). (File/AFP)
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Updated 01 June 2020

FIFA threatens Iran’s Football Federation with suspension

  • The international governing body of football rejected an amended statutes sent by the FFIRI last month
  • FIFA had previously stopped the FFIRI from holding its elections over concerns of government interference in the organization

FIFA has threatened the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) with suspension if it does not comply with its rules, Iranian daily Radio Farda reported on Sunday. 
The international governing body of football rejected the amended statutes sent by the FFIRI last month and gave the football body a deadline of June 5 to comply or face suspension.
FIFA had previously stopped the FFIRI from holding its elections over concerns of government interference in the organization. 
FIFA called on the FFIRI to address eight issues, including the reduction of the role of the Iranian Sports Minister in internal FFIRI affairs.
The amended statutes did not mention the independence of the FFIRI from the Iranian government. FIFA rules decree that a national football federation should remain autonomous from the national government.
Last month Ali Kafashian, who was in charge of running the FFIRI for almost a decade, told a local radio show in Tehran, that despite FIFA's regulations, the Iranian football association had always been under the government's direct control.
“We deem that a failure to comply with this directive would result in the matter being brought to the attention of the relevant FIFA bodies for further action,” FIFA said in a letter sent to the FFIRI.


Saudi figure skater nurtures Olympic dream

Malak Al-Shaya says when in the ice rink everything feels ‘magical’ around her. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 04 August 2020

Saudi figure skater nurtures Olympic dream

  • The 13-year-old hopes to emulate the Russian figure skaters Elena Radionova and Alexandra Trusova

JEDDAH: A Saudi teen who picked up ice skating three years ago at a friend’s birthday party is now dreaming of taking part in the Olympic Games.

“It all started at my friend’s birthday party three years ago where we ice skated and I fell in love with the sport. I started going every day after that. My mom signed me up for classes when she saw my love for the sport,” Malak Al-Shaya told Arab News.
She said: “My mom was the one that encouraged me. At that birthday party, my mom and the coach said I was a natural because I just went for it.”
She came 4th at the Houston Invitational 2020 in March. She said that she will work harder next year to win first place.
The 13-year-old hopes to emulate the Russian figure skaters Elena Radionova and Alexandra Trusova who inspired her and even to get to the Olympics.
“I’ll work on ice and off ice. I want to be like Alexandra Trusova, who makes it look so elegant,” she said.

Gliding on the ice, Al-Shaya said she feels like everything is “magical.”
The young figure skater is aware that the sport is not the most popular in the Kingdom, but she encourages those wishing to master it.
“Just go for it. If you are willing to work hard you can achieve anything,” she said.
She has received a lot of encouragement on social media to pursue her passion in figure skating.
Al-Shaya’s mother, Eman Al-Damegh, shared her daughter’s love story. “At that birthday party, it was the first time Malak ever ice skated. After that, my kids used to ask me to take them ice skating every day,” she said.

FASTFACT

• Malak Al-Shaya won 4th place at the Houston Invitational 2020.

• Al-Shaya started ice skating three years ago.

• The teen’s coach says her speed is impressive, and it takes them years to teach a student to reach the speed that she is naturally able to control comfortably.

She said that her daughter came from a background, which lacked the facilities for the sport, but was “a natural” straightaway.
“She had never been ice skating before, she started it at such a young age. We used to live in Qassim where there were no ice skating arenas at all,” said Al-Damegh.
She added: “The moment Malak set foot inside the rink, she just took off. I was so surprised, she didn’t hesitate at all, she was so daring that day. And there I was wondering what would happen on ice (before she started).”
According to her proud mother, Al-Shaya has all the capabilities required for this sport and possesses the sense of daringness that skating requires.
The teen’s coach told Al-Damegh that her daughter’s speed was impressive, adding that it takes them years to teach a student to reach the speed that she is “naturally able to control comfortably.”