Iranian side refuse to play Partizan Belgrade ... because Avram Grant is the manager 8 years ago

Iranian side refuse to play Partizan Belgrade ... because Avram Grant is the manager

Before you ask, it’s not because of those dodgy massages he allegedly used to get when he was with Portsmouth, it’s because he’s Israeli.

According to a report in The Guardian, Iranian side Sepahan Isfahan have pulled out of a scheduled friendly with Partizan Belgrade in Antalya this Friday because of Grant’s Israeli heritage.

Jabba the Hut lookalike Grant, who managed Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham while he worked in England, was told "unofficially" that the decision not to go ahead with the game was taken because he is Israeli, a decision he labelled "shameful".

"I never mixed politics with sports," Grant is quoted as saying on the Partizan Belgrade website.

"I had worked with many (Muslims) while I was in England, and I made friends with many of them."

It is not the best start to Grant’s tenure as Partizan manager; he was only appointed last month having been sacked by West Ham at the end of last season.

Having been refused a game by Sepahan Isfahan, Grant and Partizan should perhaps seek a friendly against another Iranian side, Persepolis, although they might want to avoid Eamon Zayed given the form he’s in at the moment.