The Iranian Football Federation accidentally sent a New Year’s greeting to its Israeli counterpart, which responded wishing “all of the good people in Iran a happy new year,” Israeli media reported late on Thursday.
Mohammad Ali Ardebili, head of Iranian football union’s foreign relations, told Israel’s Army Radio he sent the letter to all football unions around the world but he did not intend to send it to the Israel Football Association.
Ardebili sent the greeting letter by email and the Army Radio managed to reach him for comment by phone.
"This is a greeting sent to the entire word," he said, then he inquired quickly, "Are you speaking from Israel? I can't speak to you. This is a mistake, this is a mistake."
The Israeli Football Association (IFA) received the letter with surprise but did not hesitate to send a response, the union’s spokesman Gil Lebanony told the radio station.
The Iranian letter was received by the head of the IFA’s legal department, Amir Navon.
"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'," Lebanony said.
"So, we responded, 'We thank you for you 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 for soccer."
'We thank you for you Happy New Year greeting and wish all of the good people in Iran a happy new year
Israeli Football Association spokesman Gil Lebanony