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© AP, Dec 16, 2010

FIFA approves Dejagah switch from Germany to Iran


ZURICH(AP) FIFA has allowed former Germany Under-21 forward Ashkan Dejagah to switch allegiance and play for Iran.

However, Dejagah said on Thursday he will not be available for the Asian Cup next month. Instead, he will stay with his Bundesliga club Wolfsburg in hopes, he said, of making his ''breakthrough'' with the team.

''If I am at the Asian Cup, I will miss at least a whole month'' with Wolfsburg, the forward said in a statement on the club website. ''I want to seek my chance here.''

FIFA approved a request to switch national sides from Iran and Dejagah, who was born in Tehran but brought up in Germany.

The governing body's statutes allow players to change national teams before playing a senior international, and if they always were eligible to represent their second-choice country.

Dejagah, 24, made headlines in 2007 when he refused to play against Israel Under-21s, citing family reasons. Iran does not recognize Israel's right to exist.

The 16-team Asian Cup is from Jan. 7-29 in Qatar.

Iran is grouped with Iraq, North Korea and the United Arab Emirates.


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