Avram Grant, manager of Partizan Belgrade, has claimed that Iranian side Sepahan Isfahan cancelled a friendly game with his team because he is Israeli.

Serbian side Partizan were due to play the Iranian team on February 24, but, according to Grant and the club, Sepahan pulled out when they discovered the identity of their opponent's manager.

This game is cancelled and I'm disappointed, said Grant, in a statement on Partizan's website.

Unofficially, I've been told Iranians do not want any kind of contact due to me being Israeli. I never mixed politics with sport. I worked with many Iranians while in England and have friends among them.

The incident comes on the back of increasing tensions between Iran and Israel with Iran fearing that they are being targeted for a military strike against their nuclear facilities by Israel.

Grant only took over at the Serbian league leaders last month, after leading previous club West Ham to relegation from England's Premier League last season. Previously the 57-year-old has managed Chelsea, Portsmouth as well as the Israeli national team.

This latest incident is not the first occasion where Grant has been the victim of controversy surrounding non-footballing matters.

In 2008, while manager of London club Chelsea, he received death threats as well as a mysterious powder, which the sender claimed was lethal, in the mail. A Police source said at the time that the note read:

You are a back-stabbing Jewish b-------. When you open this letter you will die a very slow and painful death, according to Britain's Telegraph.

Threats were also sent at the time to Grant's wife, Israeli television personality Tzofit Grant.

Soccer has long been wary of the anticipated hostilities between Israel and Arab nations. Despite their geographical position, Israel play both internationally and domestically as part of the European soccer body UEFA, thus avoiding possible Arab-Israeli confrontations.

Israel were expelled from the Asia Football Confederation in 1974 after pressure from Arab nations.

Partizan Belgrade were due to play their Iranian opponents Sepahan in Antalya, Turkey, after they had to change their original plan to schedule their winter friendlies in Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has banned Israeli citizens from entering the country.

Grant is looking to rebuild his reputation after a much-criticized spell in charge of West Ham. Grant's relegation with the East-Londoners was the second consecutive season that the Israeli had taken a team down, having been in charge of Portsmouth when they were relegated to the Championship in 2010.

After coming to prominence as manager of Israeli club side Maccabi Haifa, where he won consecutive Israeli championships, Grant had a spell coaching his national side previous to moving to England. He first took the position of director of football at Portsmouth before moving to occupy the same role at Chelsea.

After the departure of José Mourinho in 2007, Grant took the reigns at Stamford Bridge. Despite taking them to within one penalty of winning the Champions League and narrowly missing out on the Premier League title, Grant was dismissed at the end of the campaign.

His latest side Partizan are currently completing their winter camp before returning to Serbian Superliga action at the beginning of next month. The defending champions currently sit 10 points clear at the top of the league.

While qualifying for the Champions League qualifying rounds as a result of their league title last season, Partizan were defeated by Belgian club Racing Genk before reaching the coveted group stages.

Partizan, from the Serbian capital Belgrade, were formed in 1945 and have won their national championship 22 times.