Yusef Jalali

Press TV, Tehran

After a controversial cancellation of a planned match with Iran, the Canadian men’s soccer team has now pulled out of another friendly game, this time against Panama, just two hours before the June 5 fixture was slated to take place in Vancouver.

The Canadian Soccer Association cited contract disputes as the reason why the match was called off. The Panama game was planned to replace a cancelled match with Iran as a preparatory friendly in the lead-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.reports

Canada’s flip-flopping on its planned soccer games have ruinedĀ its national team’s chance to warm up for their first World Cup presence after 1986.

But that’s not it. It has led to mounting controversy and finger-pointing on a national and international scale, as Iranian sports entities are now seriously following up on a lawsuit against Canada Soccer. Iran’s Football Federation is seeking compensation through FIFA for Canada’s unilateral withdrawal from the fixture.

For both match terminations, Canadian sports authorities have scapegoated the Canada team players. For the Panama game, they cited payment disagreement between the players and Canada Soccer. But in Iran’s case, they said they factored in political ‘concerns’ of the players. However, Iranian officials say the whole story is a political game.

Canada backtracked from the exhibition match with Iran days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Canada Soccer for its decision to play with Iran.

Canada Soccer then cancelled the game over what it described as the untenable geopolitical situation of hosting Iran.

The Iran contest was a golden chance for the 38th ranked Canadian men to test their performance against a team that ranks 21st in the world.

Now with the World Cup looming and just four years prior to serving as co-host of the 2026 men’s World Cup, Canada Soccer has embroiled itself in a crisis that has the potential of leaving indelible scars on Canada’s sport and its image in the world.

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