Some Iranian football players wore green wristbands during the World Cup qualifier against South Korea last month (Getty Images)

(WFI) World football’s governing body says it does not intend to punish the sport’s Iranian authorities over a show of solidarity with anti-government protesters by national team players.

Several players wore green wristbands during a World Cup qualifier last month, following unrest in the country that followed a widely disputed election result and attracted significant international media coverage.

FIFA said last week it would review all relevant match reports from the June 17 fixture between Iran and South Korea to decide whether any player dress regulations were breached.

According to rules sanctioned by the International Football Association Board: “The team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment has political, religious or personal slogans or statements will be sanctioned by the competition organizer or by FIFA.”

FIFA said in a statement: “We received the match reports and there was no reference to the wristbands.” There would be no further action, it added.

FIFA also asked the Iranian Football Federation to clarify media reports that several players were permanently banned for showing support for defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

It received a reply stating that “no disciplinary action has been imposed on any players of the Iran national team by any authority”.

Australia Reach All-Time High In FIFA Rankings
Australia’s credibility as a potential FIFA World Cup host received a boost with its first ever entry into the top 20 in FIFA’s world rankings. Australia is ranked 16th in world football among the 203 member associations of FIFA, according to this month’s rankings.

Brazil has overtaken Spain as the world’s top ranked team, following its Confederations Cup final victory over the USA in South Africa last weekend.

“We are delighted at this news,” said Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley. “Rankings are not the ‘be all and end all’ of football but they are certainly an indicator of our progress.”

“This is a great reward for the Qantas Socceroos form in the qualifying rounds for the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” he said. Last month, it became the second team to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup after host nation South Africa.

Buckley has recently returned from a brief trip to South Africa and predicted the tournament would be “fantastic”. “We can’t speak highly enough of the facilities we visited, the people we met and the atmosphere generated by local supporters at the games,” he said.

Draw Nears for U-17 World Cup
The draw for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria, originally slated for July 31, has been put back to August 7.
The 24-team competition will be played in eight cities – Abuja, Calabar, Ijebu-Ode, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Enugu and Warri.

Qualifiers and the confederation of which they are members are:
AFC: Iran, Japan, UAE, South Korea
CAF: Nigeria, Gambia, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Malawi
UEFA:Europe: Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Turkey
OFC: New Zealand
CONMEBOL: Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia

Written by Anthony Stavrinos

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