SURPRISE…Dragan Skocic contract expires in 2023!

After achieving qualification to the third round of FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, the head of FFIRI announced on his return from Bahrain that the contract of Team Melli coach has expired and after consultation with board directors of the FFIRI, a decision will be forthcoming.

In an interview with a sports TV show last night in Iran, Dragan Skočić has said that his contract is valid up to 2023 and there is no requirement for any action unless the federation wants him out!

Despite the difficult job of achieving qualification after a disastrous run under the Belgian Wilmots, Dragan Skocic’s fate as Head Coach was put under question by the leader of Iran’s football federation.

While the Football Federation is said to be reluctant to continue working with Skocic, the Croatian coach insists he has a legally binding contract until 2023 and that the federation can only terminate his contract if Iran fails to qualify for the World Cup. In his interview, the Croat coach stated that his contract is simple and concise, he also mocked the contract of his predecessor Marc Wilmots, while saying that his contract figure is not as high as Wilmots.

“I am still the head coach of the Iranian national team and I have a contract,” said Skocic, who appeared on Channel 3 last night. “The fact that I am here and I talk to you in person means that I have not gone away and I have a contract. Of course, my contract is not as expensive as Wilmots’. The problem of deciding on my contract is not a big problem either.”

In response to the question of whether the contract was not until the end of the second qualifying round of the World Cup as claimed by Shahab Azizi Khadem, the head of FFIRI, Skocic emphatically said “NO”. He elaborated further ” My contract is valid until 2023, but the contract stipulates that if we do not advance to the next round or fail to qualify for the World Cup, the contract will be terminated. My contract is until 2023, but it is performance-based. My contract is available. I am telling you the facts.”

“My contract does not contain too many clauses and it is compact. The Wilmots contract, on the other hand, needs to be reviewed several times by experts to understand, if that, but my contract is concise. They can replace me whenever the federation thinks I’m not good enough.”

Asked if he has talked to the president of the FFIRI?”  Skocic said” I did not talk to the president of the football federation regarding the contract. There was no need to negotiate. “


“How is your relationship with the president FFIRI?” In response, Skočić replied “I have a normal and professional working relationship with the president of the federation. I do not expect a very warm relationship, but we do our job professionally.”

“You are right, but it is not a matter for me to decide,” Skočić said, referring to the fact that he had been speaking the FFIRI president for a long time after Team Melli achieved qualification to the next round but had not negotiated any term of the contract. “I am not the addressee of this question. I have a contract and other issues do not concern me. I am not here to see what the signs and symptoms are,” he said in response to the fact that all of this could be a sign that the federation is unwilling to continue working with him.”

“I did my job well. I have a contract and the management of the federation will decide. They have a responsibility. That’s the whole story. It’s a simple story. I know you want my answer to be more, but that’s all there is to it. “

Skocic on whether this is a normal situation that has not been negotiated with so far and they have not asked him for a plan for the next camp? He said “I had a lot of hard work done. I am proud to be the coach of a national team. My goal is to reach the World Cup. I had a considerable share in this success, but this is no longer my decision.”

Regarding his feelings about these rumors surrounding his future with Team Melli, he clarified ” I am a professional. I want to say from the bottom of my heart that I did not get involved in these matters. After this tournament, I was so tired that I could not even watch the Euro games anymore. I only watched the games of the Croatian national team and I could not think of anything more.”

Skočić, stating that we should look at Iran as one of the strongest teams in Asia, said about Iran’s possible opponents in the next stage: “We are seeded as the leader of our group, Japan being the other. We have to prepare ourselves for every match. It does not matter which team is grouped with us. Our quality is good enough to succeed in the next stage. I did my best and gave it everything I had. I was trusted to deliver and I did I do not worry about what decision is going to be made regarding my future” Skočić said.

“This is not my responsibility. I do not occupy my mind with things over which I have no control upon. My contribution to this success was considerable. I do not like to be pitiful or talk politically. I am ready to continue with the national team because I worked hard for 15 months. If the federation decides otherwise, we should know that I am an ordinary person.”

Besides the persistent stupid questions by the TV anchor, the fact that Shahab Aziz Khadem has clearly lied is quite an embarrassment. He is not the first head of FFIRI that has blatantly falsified the facts and mislead the public as all his predecessors have done so with impunity.  It is a pathetic but accepted fact that leaders and administrators of football federation lie quite often in Iran all in the name of the people of the country!!