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By ESPN Staff
May 25, 2009

U.S.-Iran game could be in the works

TEHRAN, Iran -- A soccer game between the United States and Iran this fall could be in the works.

The possibility exists after the head of Iran's soccer federation said Monday he received a proposal from his U.S. counterpart about an exhibtion game in October or November.

The U.S. Soccer Federation would say only that "it's normal for multiple federations to contact each other about the possibility of playing a match on available international dates."

Iran Football Federation chief Ali Kafashian told the Fars news agency the Iranians are considering the offer. But USSF spokesman Neil Buethe would neither confirm nor deny the offer. He said depending how World Cup qualifying goes, there could be open dates in November, but those could be filled by other teams looking for matches.

He said there were a "lot of different factors" to consider before any "serious conversations" about actually playing a match.

"Any discussions we have with other federations are kept internal until we have a signed agreement," said Buethe.

This wouldn't be the first time that sports has cut through the nearly 30-year diplomatic freeze between the U.S. and Iran. Weightlifters, basketball players and other athletes have taken part in exchanges in recent years. But a soccer match would be an extremely high-profile event in Iran, where the sport is a national passion.

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