Mehdi Taj’s list of accusations are made public.

A list of accusations against Mehdi Taj, the president of the Football Federation, was announced.

 The Minister of Sports was quizzed about the reasons why the regulatory authorities including the judiciary, and the public prosecutor’s office have not publicly announced any affidavit or accusations against the 3 candidates for the FFIRI presidency before the elections.

According to the minister, there was in fact an immediate response from  Tehran Prosecutor’s Office when asked about the alleged accusations against all three candidates as the Public Prosecutor responded on the same day that the inquiry was sent.
According to the documents obtained, the Tehran prosecutor announced in an official letter on 24th August 2022, six days before the election of the FFIRI, that legal cases has been filed against all the 3 football candidates in the Tehran prosecutor’s office.

According to this report, Mehdi Taj was accused of abusing his job position, use of fake documents, creating a false report with the intention to mislead and falsify facts, illegally occupying state property, employing a person on the payroll of the federation (Haider Baharvand) against the law (barring the employment of retirees), illegal seizure of public funds, unauthorized seizure of financial resources (claims) of the Federation from the contracting companies and service providers,

Also, he was accused of negligence in dealing with public funds and misappropriation leading to the wastage in the amount of around 10 million Euro, destruction of state property, defrauding the country’s monetary and currency system, general fraud, false reporting, collusion in government contracts, forgery of official documents. These are all related to the contract of the former head coach of Iran’s football team (Wilmots).

Based on those accusations, a court case has been filed in the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office. A restraining order was issued by the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office for Mehdi Taj on the charges aforementioned.

The case related to Marc Wilmots is under further investigation as an additional report by the General Inspection Organization, an auditing authority, on the charge of embezzlement of public funds is still being finalized.

In this regard, some organizations, including the student mobilization of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences of Tehran University, have filed a case with the Head of the Judiciary, demanding that the Judiciary investigate Mehdi Taj.

At this stage, these are all accusations that the courts need to convene to issue verdicts. The Sports Minister did not comment on the clause that mandates that a candidate for the Presidency of the Football Federation must be free of all legal cases and not been accused or involved in any investigation including misappropriation of funds, a clause that has excluded various candidates from elections in various organizations and NGO’s.

Prior to the elections of the FFIRI, many media reports were confident that Mehdi Taj will not be cleared to run this election because of the list of accusations against him by various institutions and his violations of the rules while at the helm of the FFIRI. His premature exit from the federation when he was the head of FFIRI was a clever escape route to kill the investigations which would have found him guilty of several violations. His departure, however, only managed to delay the inevitable.

The allegation list is interesting as many of the items concern public funds that the government controls, confirming the generally held view that the FFIRI is just an extension of the government.