Soccer game

BC premier says Canada-Iran soccer match will be ‘difficult time’ for some

British Columbia Premier John Horgan has said he will “leave it to Soccer Canada” to explain the decision to host Iran at a friendly soccer match next month in Vancouver.

The match, which comes as Canada prepares for the World Cup which begins in November in Qatar, has proved controversial for Soccer Canada.

The question is whether Canada should host Iran given the Canadians who died on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 when it was shot down on January 8, 2020, minutes after taking off from Tehran, by a 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 on Tuesday that “it was not a very good idea to invite the Iranian soccer team here to Canada.”

Horgan said after Trudeau’s comments he “remembered and reflected on the Canadian lives that were lost when a plane was shot down in Iranian airspace, killing British Columbians.”

“I have met several times with the Iranian community on a range of issues and this is always fresh in mind. So I know this will be a difficult time for families who have lost loved ones and even for those who are constantly tracking these issues,” he added. “But I will leave it up to Soccer Canada to discuss how and why it happened.”

The game is scheduled to take place June 5 at BC Place.