Qatar World Cup chief Hassan Al-Thawadi has accused BBC pundit Jurgen Klinsmann of making 'racist' remarks during a post-match analysis of the Wales vs. Iran game.
Wales coach Rob Page said afterwards that the match was 'not a true reflection of that team', but German football manager and former player Klinsmann claimed Iran had been 'working the referee' during the game.
He commented: "It is not [a] coincidence, it is part of their culture, how they play. They worked the referee. They work the linesman and fourth official, they are constantly in their ear.
"There were a lot of incidents we didn't see. This is their culture, they take you off your game."
Al-Thawadi slammed the Klinsmann for his comments during an interview with talkSport, arguing: "The Iran vs Wales game. Iran played very good. They were the better team.
“And yet the coverage that we saw on BBC by Jurgen Klinsmann talking about their culture and reflecting the players in a way that was… I don’t like using the word, I will use it only once because I don’t want to give power to the word, it was very elitist, orientalist and racist to a certain extent."
The World Cup chief continued: “I’ll say it this way: you look at what is happening and you say it is part of their culture, what do you mean by that? Are you saying it was misunderstood? He was representing a culture in a negative way.”
Klinsmann also faced calls from Iran and manager Carlos Queiroz to resign from his role over his remarks, after which Klinsmann sought to clarify what he'd said and claimed the comments had been 'taken out of context'.
"I will try to give [Queiroz] a call and calm things down," Klinsmann said, adding: "I have never criticised Carlos or the Iranian bench. Some even thought I was criticising the referee because he didn’t do anything about the way they were behaving on the bench.
“All I described was their emotional way of doing things, which is actually admirable in a certain way. The whole bench lives the game. They’re jumping up and down and Carlos is a very emotional coach, he’s constantly on the sidelines trying to give his players all his energy and direction.”
Klinsmann's attempt to clarify the matter came after Iran's Football Association demanded an apology from Klinsmann and 'resignation of his duties as FIFA Technical Study Group member'.Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/BBC