We have all heard about FIFA’s decision to sanction all international soccer (football) games, for all Iranian soccer teams, national, club and youth teams. I’m sure there is not a single Iranian person in the world who did not feel the pain for at least a second.
Let's face it, our soccer team is not just a team, it’s the one that owns our hearts, it’s the one that causes the whole country to stop for few hours, it’s the one that made people come out in the streets in joy for the first time after the revolution in the 70’s (that’s almost 30 years). Our soccer team doesn’t just affect the people in Iran, for Iranian outside Iran getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night to watch a soccer game, has become a tradition, and now it all maybe in danger of fading away.
But the effect for people in Iran is far greater than that. Soccer games are not just games any more, they are excuses for people to express themselves, paint their faces and scream all they want with the sense of freedom. Also soccer created opportunities; players make good money and get observed by scouts to play outside of Iran.
FIFA made this decision because of government interference in football matters and violation of Article 17 of the FIFA Statutes. There no question that Iranian government does interfere with soccer matters, heck is there anything in Iran that the government does not interfere with? So FIFA has not made a decision based on false evidence, but is it the right decision?
Soccer is not big just in Iran, its safe to say that it’s big everywhere but in the U.S. and for many countries soccer games are as important as any other national event. FIFA’s accusation about Iran may be true, but it is not an isolated event. If you look at most countries, being the in charge of the soccer federation is not the most stable job, but it has the most exposure nation wide (remember we are not talking about U.S). To be in charge of a soccer federation, you have to have very good connections and some back ground related to soccer. In fact in most countries the head if the soccer federation has very close ties with political figures and other high end people.
Let’s take a look at Middle East; all Arabian countries are ruled by a royal family and all the important jobs are distributed among the royal family, including being in charge of all sporting events. In fact all Arabian countries shower their athletes with gifts when they come back victorious. I wonder if FIFA has ever bothered to look into that. Here is another cold fact, when Saddam was in charge if Iraq, his son was in charge of all sporting events in the country and there is evidence that he would torture athletes that did not do well in sporting events, including soccer players, so where was FIFA then?
FIFA decision toward Iran at first seems a little tough but more than that the timing of it very questionable. Iran was getting ready for the Asian games and the Iranian soccer team is a gold hopeful, so why wouldn’t FIFA begin the sanction after the Asian games? All this looks like a childish power struggle, you know the one that begins with any thing you can do I can better. FIFA warned Iran months ago about government interference and Iranian official simply ignored it and FIFA is going to sanction to prove a point.
I grew up with athletes in Iran till I was 20, my mother was a professor and thought coursed in sports medicine, naturally most her students were in various national teams, including soccer and her peers were involved in all sports federation and some of them are in charge of few federations right now. I have seen the inside politics that goes on, I have seem people being in charge of a federation without knowing the basic rules of that sport, but they did knew the right people. Also believe me on this one, there is not a single federation in Iran that is not being regulated by the government.
Here is another fact, in Iran if you want to be in charge of any type of organization, you have to be a part of the government, that’s how the country works, good or bad that’s how things get done in our country, now FIFA wants to change all that based on a faulty law that is clearly biased from one country to another?
And who is Mr. Dadkan to file a complaint to begin with? This is the same guy who wouldn’t admit that Ali Daei is too old to be a starter, we saw how that worked. Here is another thing that people may not know, Mr. Dadkan was given 3000 tickets for the world cup to be sold by the soccer federation, but only 250 were made available to people and the rest ended up in black market, so if FIFA is so caring maybe they should look into that as well.
FIFA’s sanction will not change anything in Iran, people may change but the system will stay the same. The only outcome will be that our soccer players will feel isolated, won’t be able to perform against better players and can’t learn new and up to date soccer, our coaches won’t get the latest training and learn to work with more experienced coaches and people will be heart broken. These sanctions remind me of the sanctions that the aviation industry is suffering from and look how it is costing lives. Sanctions won’t change the system and only harm the people, FIFA is suppose to be an organization that cares about people, after all isn’t that the main purpose of all sporting events to bring every body together despite their race, country, political view and etc?
FIFA should design a model and train people to fit into that model, not to force it.