Barcelona coach Xavi prevented from entering US due to previous travel to Iran

Barcelona coach Xavi prevented from entering US due to previous travel to Iran
Xavi played a total of three matches in Iran due to his time with the Qatari Al Sadd club towards the end of his footballing career.
2 min read
17 July, 2022
Xavi has coached Barcelona since 2021, as well as having played for the club from 1998 to 2015 [Getty]

Current Barcelona manager Xavi was reportedly barred from boarding a plane to the United States with his team on Saturday due to previous visits to Iran during his football playing career, according to Spanish reports.

The manager, who previously played for the Spanish team, visited Iran on a number of occasions during his time as a player for the Qatari club Al-Sadd from 2015 to 2019, which required for him to apply for a special permission to visit the United States, according to Spanish sports news website El Mundo Deportivo.

The manager, who would need a special permit to enter the United States, played the last match of his footballing career in Iran with the Qatari side back in 2019.

Al-Sadd was beaten by Iranian team Persepolis 2-0 in Tehran towards the end of the 2018/2019 football season, in a 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League match. 

El Mundo Deportivo says that Xavi played a total of three games in the Islamic Republic, which faces various sanctions imposed by Washington.

The team reportedly understood that Xavi did not pass the US’ Electronic System for Travel Authorisation on Friday before the team’s scheduled departure.

Barcelona's squad was headed to Miami to partake in a number of pre-season training sessions and four friendly matches, including a fixture against El Classico rivals Real Madrid.


However, Xavi is expected to arrive to the US on Monday, due to the visa processing time, and should be ready on Tuesday to manage his team against Inter Miami. The US team is co-owned by former England captain David Beckham and coached by his former teammate Phil Neville.

The Catalan giants are expected to play the rest of their matches in several US cities, including Dallas and New York before they head back to Spain ahead of the upcoming 2022/2023 season.