FOOTBALL'S governing body Fifa yesterday refused to become embroiled in the row about whether Iran should be kicked out of the World Cup. It follows news that European Union (EU) politicians have asked Fifa to ban the country from next month's competition in Germany and replace it with Bahrain. British Conservative Party MEP Chris Heaton-Harris, a former referee, claims there is support for the move and says that a precedent exists in other sports.
He is due to send a letter urging Fifa president Sepp Blatter to give Bahrain, who fell out to Trinidad and Tobago in the two-leg final playoff, its place in the competition instead.
A Fifa statement released to the GDN said the organisation was a sporting one and not political.
"For these reasons Fifa will not involve itself in political discussions nor address calls for any team to be prevented from participating at the 2006 World Cup in Germany," it said.
"The 32 qualified teams are representatives of their respective football associations which are by statutory regulations independent organisations that cannot be held responsible for the views and opinions expressed by their respective governmental officials.
"It is important to emphasise that views and opinions expressed by political officials must be addressed at the appropriate political and diplomatic level by the relevant institutions (ie the United Nations and European Union) and that football cannot precede action in the political arena - to do so would be detrimental to sport and would not be conducive to solving issues at hand in the political landscape."
In 1992, Denmark replaced the former Yugoslavia in the football European Championships in Sweden after it was expelled from the competition and the 1994 World Cup qualifiers as part of United Nations (UN) sanctions relating to the Balkans War.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already said she would not seek to ban Iran from the World Cup finals, which kick off on June 9.
The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad previously called for Israel to be "wiped of the map" and referred to the Holocaust as a myth.
Denying the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis is a crime in Germany, punishable by up to five years in prison.