Decline of Iranian Football

The administrative and organizational structure of our football organizations must be changed


Decline of Iranian Football
by Mohammad Ala

Our football has been in decline in the past thirty years, especially in the past year both at club levels and at the national level.  There are a few good players, but they cannot make a huge difference.  Clubs should be privatized and managed professionally.

Iranian players formerly had a physical advantage over other Asian players but this advantage no longer exists.  Many Asian players are stronger and more physically fit in comparison to our players.  At the same time, our individual player’s talent is not as good as before and while the Asian players have improved in this area as well.

Iranian clubs do not have good facilities, and the Azadi stadium lacks many amenities, such as good washrooms.

Although clubs have hired decent foreign coaches, the media, fans, and sporting administrators have interfered with these coaches.  Sometimes people who have little knowledge about modern football are in charge of the Iranian football organizations.  

It is important for us to require that our coaches have obtained international certifications and have had coaching experience in foreign countries.  Many coaches are not improving their skills and professional expertise, and if they do not obtain international experience and certification, should not be permitted to coach or to officiate.

The administrative and organizational structure of our football organizations must be changed.  There are too many administrators who travel with the teams instead of the players.  Funds are allocated inefficiently and in a wasteful manner, and intermediaries make huge commissions.  There is an alarmingly lack of transparency.

Despite our weaknesses, there are hopes.  The biggest reason for optimism is the passion that our people have for football. Given the size of our population, Iran can produce many good players.  The decision making process must be a group effort rather than the decision of those for whom no oversight is provided and who are taking advantage of the flaws in our present system.

We should demand that the current conflict of interest possibilities that exist in a variety of situations should be prohibited.  For example, a coach must not be permitted to promote his own company’s products or an administrator must not be permitted to promote his own agenda.  Administrators must not be permitted to run the football federation while holding other jobs; in the past such administrators have devoted only a small percentage of their time to this critical responsibility.

Clubs and national team have failed to produce consistent results.  If interference from incompetent administrators does not stop, we can only expect a future of further defeat and disappointment with football.  But, if we act promptly and responsibly, we can again be proud of our record in football.


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Another note...

by GuessWho... (not verified) on

I completely agree that our atheletes are far more technical today. In fact I rank them amoung the best in the world in individul dribbling and technique.

At the same time a "complete" mental preparation and confidense building program for our atheletes is yet another missing component in Iran's sports organization.

All of this can come together if the administrators can figure out how to curb their bickering and infighting amoung each other.

On a different note I must say that watching a persian guy score a goal on a foreign team is an orgasmic experience.


How about

by BK (not verified) on

changing the administrative and organizational structure of the country as a whole?

Those who think this has nothing to do with football are fooling themselves or are trying to fool others. The nature of the current political and governmental system is such that it permeates every facet of life in Iran, including sports.

Why else do you think top class foreign coaches, managers and trainers would not work in Iran?


Conditional contribution

by KouroshS (not verified) on

Farrok 2000

That is a fallacious analysis. the agreement with the leadership, the goverment of any country has really nothing to do with how players play the game or even how they should. Most players who live and play in europe may like and even love life in those countries while bear disagreements with the governments.

You and Mr. ala are not making sense at all when commenting on techniqual capabilities of the current players. Teymorian, karimi, hashemi, karimi, aziz, all those possess far better technical capabilities than previous players, and radically changed the our playing tactics and that is a fact and is why we obtained far better results in the last decade. we have experieced only a few games with huge scoring gaps, vs back then.


Nice analysis

by farokh2000 on

Thanks for this nice piece of analysis.

I think the biggest contributor to the decline of Football and Sports in general in Iran is the fact that the Criminal Mullahs are running this Country.

These people know nothing about Sports, fitness, or fun for the general public.

Their sole goal is control and opression of people so that they can rule and steal from them.

These are the same people who ordered the people not to celebrate Nowrooz, when they first invaded the Country. I am sure we all remember that.

How would anyone be surprised that we have had Brain Drain in every aspect and segment of the Society.

We have good enough athletes who are on the Europeam teams contributing, but they would not want to contribute to Iranian teams because they don't agree with the leadership of that Country.

This is true in other Sports or skills as well. Just look at what they have done to this proud people.

Shame on them all.


Dear "Mohammad Ala"

by MiNeum71 on

I guess we all agree. We played the WC '78 with a very young team (only Parvin and Kazerani were both 31), Ghasempour was 21, Nazari 21, Faraki 21, Rowshan 22, Allahverdi 23, Eskandarian 25, Danaifard 26, Sadeghi 26, Jahani 27, Abdollahi 27, Hejazi 28; this is a average of 25,3, and that was really great. With the young talents like Fariba (1978 he was 23), Ali Doosti (22), Nasser Mohammadkhani (20), Behrouz Soltani (20) we could have dominating the Asian football and becoming at least a top ten football nation (remind the great matches against Poland '76, Argentina '77, France '78).

I remember the Olympics '80 campaign, which we won with players who even couldn´t practise or play in a league. And the Asian Cup '80 still brings tears to my eyes, how brave our players fought in Kuwait during the Gulf War (Rowshan played a terribe tournament because he was injured and because had lost his brother in those days in Khuzestan).

The following ten years no structure could be developed because of the war (the victory '90 happened luckily to a weak team, the same team was knocked out in the first round of the Asian Cup two years later). And afterwards the outside interferences (government) didn´t let a professional football culture grow.

But: More than 70m people live in Iran and they all love football, also without helpful circumstances it must be possible to produce at least 15 good players for the national team. Why we can't get that, to my opinion this is a cultural problem of the Iranian society ... but that's another day and another cup of coffee.



Brilliant article, I agree

by OmidKarimi on

Brilliant article, I agree with all of your points! Iran is starting to lag behind badly. 


For movies/clips about Iranian society, check out my website at: //




by 2B2 (not verified) on

Thanks. Good points.


Issue with Football

by GuessWho... (not verified) on

Football and politics go hand in hand. Just look at fifa. But you bring up valid points that require structure and oversight from different groups. For example: a) Historically poor conditioning has been the issue with Iran's football teams. Our atheletes need serious weight trainings, speed development and cardio conditioning (ironic given tehran's high atltitude) to enable them to endure 90 minutes of competition against the sports elite from around the world and not just amoung teams within Iran. Something that goes well beyond loading their back packs with stones and having them run up and down the hill. b) the lack of public bathrooms is an issue that the city governement should be pressured on as atheletes need recognition and audience for encouragement. c) Oversight on the football program requires leadership and management know how, and that's something that politics has historically not allowed. Maybe people can step up and demand more.