Carlos Queiroz dares Iran to sack him as coach after World Cup demands
Carlos Queiroz has told football authorities in Iran to remove him from his role as the nation's head coach if they do not cede to his demands for more support for his team's Russia 2018 preparations.
The demand came after the Iranians were drawn in Group B for next June's World Cup finals when they will meet Portugal, Spain and Morocco.
Iran are one of a record five Asian nations to have made the World Cup, along with Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Queiroz has qualified Team Melli for back-to-back appearances in the FIFA showcase for the first time in the country's history.
But the former Real Madrid coach has told the powers that be to sack him if they are not prepared to listen to his urgent request for improvements in the build up to Russia 2018.
"I'm here to say Iran needs a special local preparation," the 64-year-old said in a video posted on his official Facebook page.
"I don't care about the threats and what they have been trying to do to stop me talking. The Iranians fans deserve a special World Cup preparation. We need to implement a special preparation to bring honour and pride.
"They can fire me, I don't care, but it's time to express my opinion because the Iranian fans deserve that and the players deserve full support to be ready to compete in this competition."
Queiroz has been vocal in his criticism of the Iranian football federation since his team became the first Asian nation to qualify for the finals.
His chief concern centres on the fitness of his Iran-based players and the quality of the opposition the country will face in the build-up to the World Cup final. Queiroz has continually urged the federation and the government about the need to increase their financial support of the team.
The Portuguese boss has had a difficult relationship with the federation since taking over as head coach from Afshin Ghotbi in 2011, resigning on a number of occasions before being convinced to remain in charge.
In a later post on Facebook, Queiroz called for a united front as the Iranians prepare for the World Cup.
"We have the same dream and goal: to bring joy and pride for Iran football family," he said.
"After seven years of services and commitment in Iran, after a long coaching career, I will never compromise my professional believes and my personal values.
"This is not time for arguments, debates, divisions or controversies. This is time for harmony, commitment, team work and delivery. This is time to be united, not to create divisions and suspicions. This is time to show trust and confidence. It is time to sign for commitment and support.
"Team Melli preparation should be delivered on time, with no doubts and no hesitations. This is the only way."
Queiroz is set to take Iran to the World Cup for the second time after the country exited Brazil 2014 at the end of the group stage following a draw with Nigeria, and losses against Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"The draw is very exciting and very attractive and could not be better," he said of next year's finals.
"To play against Spain, Portugal and Morocco will be a great opportunity for our players to show why they are here and especially to show that they deserve to be here.
"I'm sure we are going to do well. We are going to be competitive as always and no matter what happens in each game I'm sure at the end of the games our fans will be proud and happy with the team.
"From the players' point of view, I'm sure they are very excited to play against Portugal and Spain and also Morocco because it's a unique and rare opportunity Iranian players to play against such great players and such great teams."
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch