B.C. Premier John Horgan says he will “leave it to Soccer Canada” to explain the decision to host Iran in a soccer friendly match next month in Vancouver.
The match, which comes as Canada prepares for the World Cup which starts November in Qatar, has proven controversial for Soccer Canada.
At issue is whether Canada should be hosting Iran given the Canadians who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 when it was shot down on Jan. 8, 2020, minutes after taking off from Tehran, by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.
The Canadian government says 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed.
Horgan’s comments come after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that “it wasn’t a very good idea to invite the Iranian soccer team here to Canada.”
Horgan said after Trudeau’s comments that he “was reminded and reflecting on the Canadian lives that were lost when a plane was shot down in Iranian airspace, killing British Columbians.”
“I’ve met repeatedly with the Iranian community on a range of issues and this is always front of mind. So I know it’ll be a difficult time for those families who’ve lost loved ones and even those who have been constantly following these issues,” he added. “But I’ll leave it to Soccer Canada to discuss how and why this came about.”
The match is scheduled to take place on June 5 at B.C. Place.