Iran demands official apology for US’ disrespectful behavior towards volleyball players

FNA – Iran’s Ministry of Sports and Youths called for the US’ official apology after the members of the Iranian national volleyball team were mistreated by the American police at Chicago airport.
The ministry issued a statement on Monday where it described American officials’ behavior towards Iranian volleyball players as offensive and against Olympic charter, adding that such behavior is unacceptable from the host of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) final match.

Condemning the US’ anti-sport behavior, Iranian ministry hoped for the world federation not to grant hosting of the event in such level to US.

The Iranian volleyball team competing in the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League in the US were interrogated for four hours by the American police authorities at Chicago airport.

Iran’s national volleyball team arrived at Chicago airport on Saturday after 30 hours of flight but they were held for another 4 hours by the US police for interrogation.

Mistreatment by the US police was reported towards the Iranian players and technical staff. They headed to their hotel after four hours.

The same behavior was shown towards the young Iranian volleyball players last year too.

Earlier on Monday, The Iranian foreign ministry summoned Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Markus Leitner whose country represents the US interests in the Islamic Republic to protest at the American police’s lack of courtesy toward Iranian athletes.

Iranian Foreign Minister’s Aide and the General Director for American Affairs at the ministry Mohsen Baharvand in a meeting with Leitner protested at the US interrogation of Iran’s volleyball players.

“If the US cannot host all sports teams fairly and impartially, it had better avoid hosting sports games,” he said during the meeting, protesting at the US authorities’ mistreatment of the Iranian team.

Igor Kolakovic, coach of the Iranian National Volleyball Team, said at the time that “the FIVB Nations League is not organized in a proper manner. How can a team like Iran change continents once a week while teams from France, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, US, and Poland only travel to one or two continents? Why were our young team members not able to obtain a US or even an EU visa? This is not sports”.

Asked about the US treatment of Iran’s team, he said, “Our team was interrogated by the FBI upon arrival. Some of the players had to answer the nonsensical questions asked by border control police one by one. The US police kept our team in a small room at the airport for three hours while the Polish team left the airport there and then, with a smile on their faces and no formalities.”

The president of Iran’s Volleyball Federation also commented on the incident, saying, “This is politics. I don’t know why they did it. Do our athletes have anything else to do but play sports? Their approach is not logical.”

Earlier this month, Kolakovic said that the Iranian team will fight for victories in the final round of the 2019 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League in Chicago.