Iran coach Carlos Queiroz has called ‘outrageous’ comments made about his team by 1990 World Cup winner and BBC pundit Jurgen Klinsmann a ‘disgrace to football’, demanding that the former Germany striker also resign from his role as a member of FIFA’s Technical Study Group.
Klinsmann was working on BBC’s coverage of Iran’s game against Wales on Friday and was highly critical. The former United States coach made broad generalisations about Iran’s style and character, repeatedly stating ‘This is their culture’ in a clip that made for uncomfortable viewing.
“It is part of their culture and how they play it, they worked the referee perfectly. The bench was always jumping up and working the linesman and the fourth official on the sideline,” he said.
“They're constantly in your ear and your face. Kieffer Moore will probably tell you some stories after this game, he had a lot of little incidents out there that we didn't see. This is their culture, they kind of make you lose your focus and concentration, what's really important to you.”
He also hit out at Queiroz individually, questioning the coach’s record in charge of other international teams like Colombia and Egypt, and specifically claiming that Iran ‘suits’ him for the above reasons.
Klinsmann even made prejudiced remarks about the Guatemalan referee, Mario Escobar, implying that Iran might have been more strictly governed in the match by an official from another country.
“It would have been a big difference with another referee,” Klinsmann claimed. “They had a Guatemalan referee. I worked in the USA for six years and went to Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica. This fits their culture basically.”
On Saturday night, Queiroz posted a lengthy open letter to Klinsmann on Twitter, in which he took the moral high ground and invited Klinsmann to visit’s Iran base to learn about the culture and country where the ex-Manchester United assistant has worked for most of the last 11 years.
“Even not knowing me personally, you question my character with a typical prejudiced judgment of superiority,” Queiroz wrote. “No matter how much I can respect what you did [on] the pitch, those remarks about Iran Culture, Iran National Team and my Players are a disgrace to football.
“Nobody can hurt our integrity if it is not at our level, of course even saying so, we would like to invite you as our guest, to come to our National Team Camp, socialize with Iran players and learn from them about the country, the people of Iran, the poets and art, the algebra, all the millennial Persian culture.
“And also listen from our players how much they love and respect football. As American/German, we understand your no support. No problem. And despite your outrageous remarks on BBC trying to undermine our efforts, sacrifices and skills, we promise you that we will not produce any judgments regarding your culture, roots and background and that you will always be welcome to our Family.
“At the same time, we just want to follow with full attention what will be the decision of FIFA regarding your position as a member of Qatar 2022 Technical Study Group. Because, obviously, we expect you to resign before you visit our camp.”