UAE cancels football friendly with Iran

April 16, 2012

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A handout picture released by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's official website shows Ahmadinejad waving at supporters during a visit to island of Abu Musa on April 11, 2012. – AFP Photo.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: The general secretary of the United Arab Emirates Football Association says it has canceled a friendly match with Iran this week due to rising tensions over a disputed island.

Yousef Abdullah said it was ''normal'' to cancel Tuesday's match after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angered the UAE last week by visiting Abu Musa island, which both countries claim as part of their territory. Abdullah questioned ''how we could play the match'' after the visit, adding that ''a friendly match should be between friends.''

Tehran took control of the tiny island and nearby Greater and Lesser Tunb islands in 1971 after British forces left. The three islands dominate the approach to the Strait of Hormuz, through which about one-fifth of the world's oil supply passes.