Osorio says Canadian players told Canada Soccer they were against Iran playing

The Canadian men’s soccer team played its part in canceling a friendly draft against Iran, expressing its sentiments in an email this week to a senior Canada Soccer official.

“We thought it would be better if maybe this game wasn’t played,” veteran midfielder Jonathan Osorio said after Toronto FC’s training session on Friday. “My feeling is that around the federation (Canada Soccer) it ended up being the same feeling as well.

“I don’t think the decision was made based on what we sent. We just send our concerns, with everything that’s going on. It’s an unfortunate situation, I think. And that’s what it is now. Now we just can’t wait to get together anyway and start preparing for what’s in store for us at the end of the year (the World Cup starting in November in Qatar).

The players’ email came 24 hours before Canada Soccer, amid mounting criticism, announced on Thursday that it was canceling its scheduled June 5 match against Iran at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

The choice of Iran as an opponent has sparked a firestorm with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Conservative lawmakers and B’nai Brith Canada among those criticizing the game, given the Canadians who died on the flight international Ukraine 752. Airlines.

The plane was shot down on January 8, 2020, a few minutes after taking off from Tehran, by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. The Canadian government says 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents are among the 176 people killed.

Over 40,000 tickets were sold for the game against Iran.

The Iranian team was due to arrive in Canada next Wednesday. Iran, ranked 21st in the world, are also heading to the World Cup.

Iran’s game would be the first of a two-game home game in Vancouver. The 38th-placed Canadian opened CONCACAF Nations League A against Curaçao on June 9, before closing the FIFA international window with another CONCACAF Nations League game against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on June 13.

Canada Soccer says it hopes to find another opponent to play on June 5.

Osorio, 29, has 55 caps for Canada.

Elmer Hayward

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