Iran have been forced to pull out of the Cerebal Palsy Football World Championships after they were denied visas to get into England, it has been announced.
The British Embassy in Ankara were supposed to issue the visas to the team for the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPRISA) event, which will be staged at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, but there has been a problem granting them and they have been refused entry.
It has been reported that Iranian officials have written to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to vent their anger at the decision.
They were due to be in Group A alongside European champions Ukraine, Japan and the host nation and following their withdrawal, the group will go ahead with just three teams.
Iran’s first game was scheduled for the opening day tomorrow against Ukraine.
“It is with great regret that the International Federation for Cerebral Palsy Football and Local Organising Committee must announce that the Iran team will not be taking part in the World Football Championships starting on June 16th, for reasons beyond the Federation's control,” an Organising Committee statement read.
The tournament itself, which is due to conclude with the final on June 28, features the world’s top cerebal palsy sides who have been split into four groups, with the top two from each progressing to the second round.
Group B features current world and Paralympic champions Russia, and they will go up against Australia, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.
Venezuela, Scotland, the United States and 2014 Copa América champions Brazil make up Group C, while Group D includes Canada, Northern Ireland, Argentina and The Netherlands.
The seven-a-side competition also serves as a Paralympic qualifier.
So far, only Portugal and Ukraine have secured spots for Rio 2016.
June 2015: Australian football star Bresciano calls for donations to help seven-a-side Paralaympic football team reach Rio 2016
January 2015: 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships volunteer programme launched
March 2014: Britain to host 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football World Championship