A top Iranian Football Federation official has been forced to resign after his New Year's greeting was inadvertently sent to the Israel Football Association, Iranian news agencies reported Sunday.
According to the Fars news agency, Mohammad-Mansour Azimzadeh, who heads the IFF Foreign Relations Department, quit after a group e-mail greeting sent on his behalf to FIFA members reached his counterparts in Israel even though the "Zionist regime" had been removed from the soccer federation's e-mail list.
Fars said that a "FIFA employee named Amir Navon, an Israeli of Iranian origin, forwarded the Iranian greeting to the IFA."
Army Radio managed to briefly get hold of IFF Foreign Relations Department spokesman Mohammed Ardebili by phone on Thursday.
"This is a greeting sent to the entire world," he said. "Are you speaking from Israel? I can't speak to you. This is a mistake, this is a mistake."
Israel Football Association spokesman Gil Lebanony told the radio station Thursday that although the IFA was surprised to receive the e-mail, it did not hesitate in sending a response.
Lebanony's account also contradicted the Fars claim that Navon had "forwarded" the greeting to the IFA.
"Attorney Amir Navon, head of our legal department, actually received the mail," he said. "He came into my office and asked me if it was a mistake. I said, 'I don't know, but let's send a response.'"
"So, we responded, 'We thank you for your Happy New Year greeting and wish all of the good people in Iran a happy new year,' and added a wink in the mail," Lebanony said.
"We also expressed our hopes that they will have a good year of soccer."