A handout picture released by the Iranian presidency shows the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani (R) shaking hands with FIFA President Sepp Blatter during a meeting in Tehran on November 6, 2013
A handout picture released by the Iranian presidency shows the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani (R) shaking hands with FIFA President Sepp Blatter during a meeting in Tehran on November 6, 2013 © - IRANIAN PRESIDENCY/AFP
A handout picture released by the Iranian presidency shows the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani (R) shaking hands with FIFA President Sepp Blatter during a meeting in Tehran on November 6, 2013
AFP
Last updated: November 6, 2013

Blatter lends support to Iran Asian Cup bid

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter has given his support to Iran's bid to host the 2019 Asian Cup during a visit to the country on Wednesday.

The official Iranian news agency Irna reported that Blatter and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain met Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, with Rouhani thanking both men "for their support of Iran's candidature for the 2019 Asian Cup".

"Football can reinforce relations between nations," Rouhani added.

Iran won consecutive Asian Cups in 1968, 1972 and 1976, hosting the 1968 and 1976 tournaments.

A total of eight countries submitted bids to host the 2019 finals, with Bahrain, China, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates joining Iran.

The next tournament in 2015 will be held in Australia, with Iran currently on course to qualify.

Coached by Portuguese former Real Madrid boss Carlos Queiroz, Iran have also qualified for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

Blatter is on a 36-hour "courtesy visit" to Iran and is also due to attend a football and science seminar on Thursday organised by the Iranian Football Federation.

"It is a courtesy visit to the Iranian football federation, after I postponed my visit last year," Blatter told FIFA official media.

"It is a good time to go. There was a change, I'm honoured to meet President Rouhani to speak with him about the future of the country and the future of football."

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