AFP: The Egyptian Football Association said on Friday that a friendly match with Iran had been cancelled due to tensions over an Iranian film on the assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
CAIRO (AFP) — The Egyptian Football Association said on Friday that a friendly match with Iran had been cancelled due to tensions over an Iranian film on the assassination of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
"We have decided to cancel the match because of tensions in relations" between Cairo and Tehran following the airing of the documentary on the 1981 assassination, federation president Samir Zaher said.
"We have been in contact with the (Egyptian) foreign ministry during the last 10 days regarding the situation and we finally decided to cancel the match so it did not provoke in one way or another, further tensions," he said.
The match was due to be played on August 20 in the United Arab Emirates.
The film, entitled "Assassination of a Pharaoh", says Sadat was killed for signing the 1978 Camp David Accords that led to a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, the first by an Arab country.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit earlier this month condemned the film, which the producers said covered "the revolutionary assassination of the treacherous Egyptian president at the hands of the martyr Khaled Islambouli."
"We condemn this film in the strongest possible terms," Abul Gheit told reporters in Cairo, two days after Egypt summoned Tehran's envoy in Cairo to lodge a formal protest over the airing of the film.
Islamic militant Islambouli was one of the soldiers who shot Sadat dead at a military parade in Cairo on October 6, 1981. He was hanged for the killing in 1982 and subsequently had a Tehran road named after him.
Diplomatic ties between Egypt and Iran were severed in 1980, a year after the Islamic revolution, in protest at Egypt's recognition of Israel, its hosting of the deposed shah and its support for Iraq during its 1980-1988 war with Iran.
Relations have recently warmed, with both countries signalling a willingness to restore ties. In January, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks with Iran's parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hada Adel, the first such high-level meeting in almost 30 years.