World Wrestling Body Postpones Greco-Roman Cup in Iran Citing Security Concerns

By Hamed Mohammadi

The United World Wrestling (UWW), formerly known as the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA), postponed the 2019 Greco-Roman World Cup initially scheduled for November 28 and 29 in Tehran amid concerns for the safety and security of the wrestling teams taking part in the competition.

In a letter, the Secretary-General of the UWW, Michel Dusson, said: “Given its responsibility towards athletes and teams; and that the situation [in Iran] has not stabilized to an acceptable level for holding such an international event; and aiming to avoid any risk to our athletes, the Executive Committee has postponed the World Cup GR until further notice.”

The decision by the UWW followed recent nationwide protests over a massive fuel price hike in Iran, which left more than 200 people dead and scores of others injured.

Hassan Rangraz, the spokesman for The Islamic Republic of Iran Wrestling Federation, confirmed the postponement of the tournament during a news conference.

“The UWW’s Executive Committee held a meeting on November 24 in Istanbul, Turkey, after which they informed us, in an email, that they had postponed the 2019 Greco-Roman World Cup,” Mr. Rangraz was quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying. “We immediately started discussing the issue with various domestic institutions and international federations. We still hope Tehran will host the event. There are no major concerns regarding security and logistics. We will host the event according to UWW’s guidelines.”

The decision by the UWW to postpone the 2019 Greco-Roman World Cup is yet another blow to the Islamic Republic’s national sport federations, which have been plagued with many controversies in recent years — including forcing Iranian wrestlers and Judokas to throw matches in international competitions to avoid facing their Israeli opponents, and banning women football fans from attending games at large stadiums.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]