Tag: Ali KArimi

Broadcaster Khiabani shocks the system.

The banning of Javad Khaibani’s activities on official media seems to be ruled out with the renowned broadcaster appearing on Channel 3 and also on Sports Network’s program.

Javad Khayani’s recent statements in one of the special talk shows of the Home Show Network, in which he quite fearlessly highlighted the economic plights of his countrymen, corruption in sports, and multiple system failures, had created speculations that his activities would be banned on television and also in other visual media.

But on Wednesday, the telecast of the friendly football match between the Manchester City and Bayern Munich teams ended those speculations with Khabani reporting on the game for the TV channel.

The Iranian regime has a habit of blanking its critics and forcing the media to stop publishing images or quotes. The most famous of these critics in recent times is none other than Ali Karimi, who has turned into a cult hero following his harsh criticism against the regime for the oppression of women and the wide corruption. Karimi, the former Captain of Team Melli, Bayern Munich, and Persepolis player left the country fearing for his life.

Khiabani, the veteran TV broadcaster, had some hard words for the authority in a recent TV show reflecting on the plight of Iranians and how the system prevents their progress in all fields.

After this harsh talk, there were calls by hardliners to ban Khiabani.

The regime is well-known to have zero tolerance for public criticism, even the constructive type. It is especially sensitive to celebrities, sports personalities, and Artists, many of whom have been banned for speaking out against the regime practices in the aftermath of Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody.

Adel Ferwosipour is another broadcaster who is currently on the blacklist and has not been seen on TV for a long time since his quite famous and controversial TV show ‘Navad’ has been taken off the air.

IRIB, the official government broadcasting apparatus, is under the control of Ayatollah Ali Khamenai’s office. Policies and direction are scrutinized and channeled toward being a propaganda machine for the Iranian regime., The TV programs have an immense amount of religious content and the screens are mostly colonized by the Shia clergy giving sermons to a population that is living under extremely harsh economical conditions.

Despite Khiabani’s brave words, some cynics in social media have accused the broadcaster and his masters of staging this show. Those people believe that there is no way anyone dares to talk so openly criticizing the system with the approval of the regime’s security agents who have permanent residency in the IRIB properties.

Iran is the 4th worst country on World Press Freedom Index with Vietnam, China, and North Korea being worse.

Possible sanctions against athletes.

Iranian athletes could face punishment if they don’t participate in annual Quds Day marches across the country later this month, according to IranWire, in what would be yet another example of state interference in sports.

The Islamic Republic’s authorities are organizing the rallies on the last Friday of the Islamic month of Ramadan, which this year falls on April 14, in solidarity with the Palestinians.

A directive seen by IranWire and signed by Karamali Iraji, the deputy director-general of the Ministry of Sports and Youth, says that athletes are required to attend the rallies, citing the “noble cause of…the Palestinian resistance,” a resolution of the Coordination Council for Islamic Propagation and instructions by the Tehran Governorate.

The directive was agreed upon last week during a meeting between Minister of Sports and Youth Hamid Sajjadi and his deputies.

The source at the Ministry of Sports and Youth who provided the document to IranWire said that copies were sent to all provincial sports boards across the country.

The ministry is considering possible incentives for athletes who will attend the state-sanctioned rallies and punishment for those who won’t, the source said.

Iranian sports has become increasingly politicized. Most sports bodies had been taken over by political or security-military organizations, with former members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps holding key positions in clubs and federations. Many footballers were sanctioned or punished for their support of the protests including Ali Karimi, Aldi Daei, Vouria Ghafouri.

Earlier this year, the European Union imposed sanctions on Sajjadi for pressuring Iranian athletes into silence, including climber Elnaz Rekabi who competed in South Korea without mandatory headscarves amid widespread anti-government protests inside Iran.

Last month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had “expressed serious concerns over the past few months vis-à-vis the situation of the Iranian athletes and the Olympic community as a whole in the current context of the upheavals and demonstrations in the country.”

The IOC has urged the Iranian National Olympic Committee to “take appropriate action with the highest authorities to protect the athletes and members of the Olympic community from a humanitarian perspective.”

The statement warned that the IOC Executive Board “reserves the right to take any appropriate action” relating to the participation of the Iranian NOC and athletes in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, “depending on the developments in this situation.”

Hossein Mahini arrested for sympathizing with the people.

As the social unrest and protests marches across Iran continues unabated, the authority that has an iron grip on sports, especially football, has acted with brute force against any footballer or celebrities who dare side with the people’s protests or post messages in support of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year Kurdish girl who died under the custody of the Police in Tehran.

In the latest such move, the former Team Melli and Persepolis player Hossein Mahini has been arrested as a result of quote ” for publishing ed material supporting and encouraging riots on his online pages in the past few days” unquote. IRNA, the official Iranian news agency confirmed the arrest. While the 36 years old Mahini, a native of Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, has been arrested by the security apparatus the whereabouts of Ali Karimi whose house has been alleged to be confiscated by the authorities is still unknown. Karimi was targeted by the Mullahs for his outspoken comments and courage well before Mahsa Amini’s death made the world headlines.

Mahini played 26 times for Team Melli between 2011 to 2016.

Confidential information from the Team Melli camp returning to Tehran today, speaks of strong warnings to every player in the squad to refrain from expressing ani anti-government views in social media posts, speaking out against the security forces, or expressing sympathy with the late Mahsa Amini. The players are categorically prevented from participating in political rallies unless it is a pro-Khamenei rally. The consequences of disobeying these orders are severe for the players and their families.


Is Team Melli’s unity under threat?

Across Iran, women are leading the charge in massive protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini. Morality police, who enforce the use of hijabs in public, arrested the Kurdish native 22-year-old in Tehran on September 16, 2022. Not long after she was taken into custody, she was dead.

What started with the women’s protest in Tehran and Kurdistan has now spread across the country with people taking to the streets, women burning their hijabs, and cutting their hair as a symbol of protest.

These protests have been so effective that celebrities across Iran started joining this massive movement, and that is the biggest nightmare of the clerical regime that has been governed by a known hardliner Ebrahim Raesi who was elected in an orchestrated election. Among the most prominent celebrities to stand with the people is none other than the icon himself, Mohammad Ali Karimi.

Karimi, a household name in Iran and a much-loved figure has been active n social media. The former Persepolis and Bayern Munich player has 12.2m Followers and his voice has been effective, leading the authorities to attempt to arrest him and confiscate his house unlawfully.

The protest does not stop at a former Team Melli icon like Ali Karimi as the current squad has many who sympathize with the people and mourn Mahsa Amini. Sardar Azmoun, the Team Melli current top scorer who plays for Bayer Leverkusen, after the goal celebration against Senegal on Tuesday was one of the saddest witnessed in the history of Team Melli.

Sardar Azmoun, despite the security apparatus ringing Team Melli in the Austrian camp, and everywhere outside Iran for that matter, managed to utter a few words that highlighted his status as a sympathizer for the people against the regime.

The situation gets more complicated if we contemplate that there are players in the squad who are regime agents. This has been a known fact in Team Melli since the 1980s. Some players are recruited by the security apparatus for spying on others and get rewarded for it. Football is not the only game in Team Melli as politics is deep-rooted.

It is clear that Team, Melli is split between three different factions. Dragan Skocic’s case was indicative of these differences with Azmoun and Taremi taking different views on the subject. It is a known fact that Taremi was the instigator and he pushed Jahanbakhsh and Hajsafi to meet the Iranian Minister of Sports while Team Melli was in camp in Doha to demand the removal of Skocic who guided Iran to the World Cup in what looked like Mission Impossible!. The government obliged and pushed for their man Mehdi Taj to be elected as head of the FFIRI with the main agenda item being the return of Queiroz.

No one in his right mind would think that Queiroz got the job on merits. His failure with Egypt and Colombia would relegate him to the third division of the top coach’s league plus the fact that he failed in two World Cups with Iran and two AFC Asian cups. Unknown to him, the Portuguese coach is the main beneficiary in the Iranian politics that could be threatening Team Melli which is ready for combustion in the struggle of the political factions.

These differences are directly related to the status of mass protests in the streets of Iranian cities. If the situation becomes calmer. The Team Melli camp tension will reduce, if things get worst in Iran, then there is a serious risk of disintegration or at least its weakening as a result of the loss of key players.


Daily Mail : SPECIAL REPORT: Iran are in chaos

SPECIAL REPORT: Iran are in chaos ahead of the World Cup as unrest grows in the country… protestors ejected from Uruguay friendly by police, our reporter was banned from attending and players were ‘forced to delete’ their support online

  • Iran having struggles with protests in the country ahead of World Cup in Qatar
  • Protesters were ejected from their friendly match against Uruguay by police
  • Players appear to have been ‘forced to delete their support on social media  


It really should not happen to a former Real Madrid manager and one-time assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson but Carlos Queiroz was laying out the cones for an Iran training session in an obscure Vienna suburb last Thursday afternoon, having played a part in heading off a diplomatic incident.

The session, for a team who beat Uruguay 1-0 in a World Cup warm-up the following night, seemed to bring pleasure to a 69-year-old who has been re-hired to stop the rot in the Iran national side — even though he is being paid a mere £50,000 for a four-month contract which expires after the World Cup. His six coaches are on less than £30,000 between them.

The diplomatic role is trickier, given that Iran is in the midst of huge and escalating public protest after the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the state’s morality police for allegedly improperly wearing a hijab and headscarf. Football worries the Iranian state because the nation’s football players have a habit of speaking their minds.

Against this backdrop, The Mail on Sunday arrived here last Wednesday to find we were among several western media organizations to have had our accreditation for the game withdrawn — on the orders of the Iranian state, according to several sources. The game was all ready to be played behind closed doors at the insistence of the Iranians, who were technically the hosts.

Our subsequent approach to the Iranian FC vice-president Mahdi Mohammadnabi, at the team hotel, revealed just how terrified officials are about taking any step that the state apparatus might disapprove of. Mohammadnabi, a shambling figure in a shabby coat and cheap training gear, said nothing to us or Persian-speaking colleagues, apart from refusing us access to Queiroz.

  • Iranians have been protesting after Mahsa Amini was arrested by the state morality police

The manager then emerged from a hotel dining area to say he would speak beside the training pitch to the few reporters present. This appeared to be a test of whether there were enemies in Iran’s midst. Within 18 hours our accreditation was mysteriously restored. Threats of having to surrender mobile phones never materialized.

Queiroz appears to have the power to act as a de-facto independent foreign envoy for Iran and maintain a semblance of credibility for its hapless FA. He is not afraid to speak because he does not live in fear of the state, as the FA officials do. He does not have a family in Iran to worry about. The Iranian state badly needs him, too, though as yet Queiroz has gone nowhere towards commenting on the treatment of women such as Amini.

Iran seem to have thought that protest would never follow them to St Polten, a sleepy town 50 miles west of Vienna where this surreal match took place.

But dissent stalked the place. Around 150 supporters of each side who were given entry, supposedly as VIPs, included two men who held up an image of Amini during the second half. They were immediately apprehended by Austrian police officers and frog-marched out of the stadium through a VIP lounge.

  • The Mail on Sunday’s press passes were restored allowing them to speak to Queiroz

Austrian police spokesman Raimund Schwaigerlehner told The Mail on Sunday yesterday that the protesters had left the stadium ‘voluntarily.’ Once removed, they insisted they had had every right to protest peacefully. It was an extraordinary scene to observe in a democratic European country. The Austrians, tied up in knots by the Iranian state, also made the bizarre claim that any protest must ‘be registered with the competent authority’ up to 48 hours before it takes place. This was merely two men with an A4-size poster.

On the field of play, some degree of sanity has been preserved after the implosion of the team under Croatian manager Dragan Skocic, Queiroz’s predecessor — who some players viewed with contempt. There were stories of training sessions involving little more than a ‘crossbar challenge’. One source felt the Iranians were particularly keen to get the proven Queiroz back because of the politically charged nature of Group B. ‘The thought of losing both to the USA and England is unthinkable for the Iranian state,’ the source said.

Queiroz certainly has his work cut out, having been re-installed just two months before the tournament. He hinted on Thursday that the team will still be playing friendlies in the week before they take on England. There has been talk of a friendly against Russia in Doha that week, though Tehran seems a more likely venue.


  • Queiroz insists that Iran are going to compete at the World Cup and are not ‘no-hopers’

The manager dismissed Iran’s tag as the no-hopers of their group. ‘I don’t care about what others think. I care about us,’ said Queiroz. ‘I can’t control other people’s opinions. We have our strengths and qualities, but we have weaknesses like all teams. The time comes to speak on the pitch.’

The re-appointment of Queiroz has created a huge sudden sense of expectation and a first-ever advance to the knockout stages is now expected at home. The impressive 1-0 win over a strong Uruguay, with Porto forward Mehdi Taremi scoring, will heighten expectation. Iran are a technically effective side who press hard and, on the basis of Friday night, can whip the ball around rapidly. They are also up for a battle, as defender Hossein Kanaani, a big influence, proved by going nose to nose with Luis Suarez after a disagreement.

But the political controversy will stalk Iran and the world cannot be shut out in Doha, where protest groups are likely to gather. Queiroz will field a battery of questions.

  • One player that has given support is former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi

Some of those Iranian players who have found their voice — such as former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi, with 11.4million Instagram followers — are now retired. But Zobeir Niknafs, who plays for Tehran side Esteghlal, shaved his head in an Instagram post which was a vivid display of solidarity with the protests.

The core of Queiroz’s squad have also made it clear they will not be silenced. No fewer than seven, including the stars of the win over Uruguay, have changed Twitter profile pictures to black markers, in their own gesture of support. When the team return to the St Polten stadium on Wednesday for another friendly behind closed doors, against Senegal, protests about Amini’s death are expected outside. Austrian Police will be reluctant to be drawn into arrests in a nation where the right to protest is sacrosanct. This is how it will be from now on. Iran, a side of great promise, will take fireworks wherever they go.

ALI KARIMI Hero of the people.

One of the most popular figures in Iran, the former Team Melli captain and Persepolis forward is being censored by the regime for his views on social issues that are not compatible with the fundamentalist regime’s doctrines.

The official media in Iran was directed to blacklist Ali Karimi which means that he will not be allowed to appear on TV or on the Radio, and not quoted in official publications while the TV has been instructed not to broadcast any images or clips of the footballer.

Adding to that, in true retribution, the regime that has zero tolerance for any shape of expression that questions its principles, ruled to take down any billboards with Ali Karimi’s image.

This all started when Ali Karimi, a known figure in supporting local causes and a charity supporter, urged the people of Iran to channel their “Nazr” towards real charity aid and support causes like medical care of patients who are unable to pay hospital bills and/or medication.

“Nazr” is a religious donation routed to the religious hierarchy. It supports the Mullah’s affairs and provides salaries and payouts to regime loyalists. There is no record that any money from “Nazr” donation has ever been channeled to proper charity or the needy in Iran.

This comment irritated the powerful religious institution, which found it a threat to an established religious practice for centuries. Karimi’s call also alerted many people in Iran to where these donations end up (in the clergy’s pockets). A certain clergy has the audacity to bad mouth, Ali Karimi, on a tribune calling him a Stupid, shameless, and ignorant man who has benefited from the public coffers without returning anything back to society.

The facts and truth are quite different. Ali Karimi made all his fortune outside Iran starting in UAE with Al-Ahli then moving on to Germany with Bayern Munich and finally Qatar. Karimi has been at the forefront of many charity works in Iran including providing tablets for rural students during the covid lockdown.

The voice of Ali Karimi and his popularity has shocked the regime, it has pushed thousands of Iranians to air support for him on social media and denounce the evil clergy who bad-mouthed the Wizard of Tehran”.

The saga of Azizi Khadem!

The events leading to and following the temporary removal of Azizi Khadem are indeed mind-boggling affair and is indicative of how crooked and dodgy football is in Iran.

Hardly a household name or a person with an illustrious football career,  Azizi Khadem, found himself occupying the most important post in Iran’s football. In a dodgy election, he managed to beat a much tried and tested Kiomars Hashmi, Mostafa Ajrlou, and Iran’s football legend Ali Karimi to win the presidency of FFIRI.

Azizi Khadem was in fact was a member of FFIRI working behind the scenes but he was hardly a newsworthy item and rarely quoted in public. He tried his luck for the post of presidency twice and failed, it was his third time lucky for the former executive of several government-owned industries.

Government-owned is indeed the magical word, as through such connections that even dubious people can go a long way climbing the ladder.

Azizi Khadem’s win, which was a surprise for many critics, did not start on a positive note. He was media-shy and prepared to work quietly. His modus operandi was to keep below the radar, follow his agenda, and hope he was not noticed frequently. In such a post, it was difficult to achieve tor that. But, he managed to ruffle some feathers, and the opposition to his management style and threat to his post started brewing within the corridors of tFFIRI growing bigger and bigger by the weeks.

Career and Biography

Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem was born on February 22, 1977, in Lorestan. He was a Bachelor of Political Science graduate from the University of Tehran, holds a Master’s degree in Regional Studies and International Relations from Allameh Tabatabai University, and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Tehran.

A man with two birth certificates

Shahabuddin Aziz Khatam used a birth certificate number 755 and date of birth 11973 in Pol Tang, which belonged to his deceased brother

On August 10, 1997, he was able to get his new identity card with the date of his birth of January 21, 1976, which conflicts with many of his records and does not match his real age!

a 10 years old soldier!

In his own words, Azizi Khadem said that in 1987, according to his old identity card, he was drafted and sent to the war front as a 15-year-old boy, although according to his new identity card, he would have been a 10-year-old child!!

football background.

After the war, while studying in 1997, he played as a right-back for the Rah Ahan team and was a member of Iran’s students’ national team. During the reign of Ahmadinejad’s government, and due to his close connection with Parviz Kazemi, the then Minister of Welfare, Azizi Khadem was appointed to the board of directors of several government-owned companies operating under the authority of the Ministry of Welfare.

He was a board member of Amirkabir Petrochemical and Shazand Petrochemical government-owned companies and was also the Parliamentary and Legal advisor to his mentor the Minister of Welfare and Social Security.

Azizi Khadem somehow entered football administration by recommendation and influences through an appointment in the board of directors of the Football Federation  FFIRI. in 2012 at the age of 33, and a year later he became a member of the Executive board of directors of the government-owned club “Peykan”.

He somehow was appointed as a Board Member of FFIRI at the age of 33 when the bylaws of FFIRI stipulate that the minimum age for such appointment was 35 years!

Running for Presidency

In 2017, he tried to register his candidacy for the Presidency of the Football Federation, but his application was rejected due to his lack of 10 years of managerial experience required to be eligible. He was disqualified.

Azizi Khadem tried her luck again a year later in 2018, but the assembly voted for “Mahmoud Islamian“. in 2020, he was able to enter Saipa Club as a Board Member of the government-owned club

In 2021, Azizi Khadem along with Ali Karimi, Mostafa Ajrlou, and Kiomars Hashemi were approved as candidates for the post of President of the Football Federation. Finally, he was able to win 48 votes of members of the Assembly against 38 votes of Kiomars Hashemi. After winning the election on his third attempt, he was appointed as the President of FFIRI.

Most of his career progression was through appointments. A career that started by faking his National Card “Shinasnameh” and dubious claim he was on the war front at the age of 10. The common factor in all his career was a government-own entity and a close connection to a Minster or person in a powerful position.

Interaction with sorcerers!

From the very first days of his tenure as president of the federation, there were rumors about how he interacted with some people active in the field of foreign sciences. A reference to witchcraft !. In August 2021 after Team Melli defeated Syria 1-0 to put its feet firmly for the qualification to the World Cup 2022, Azizi Khadem attributed the victory to God and the prayer of “Khooban Alam” rather than the players, coaches, or the whole squad. ‘Khooban Alam’ was a reference to those mystery forces which his critics believe to be similar to mysterious voodooism.

VAR controversy from Israel

After “Khooban Alam”, he produced another blooper which led to controversy. Iran was about to acquire the VAR system. FFIRI contracted a company based in Hong Kong, to supply the system.  The contract was suspended with that company after the revelation that it was indeed an Israeli shareholders company. This refereeing assistance system was supposed to reach Iran, but it was stopped. Seems that Azizi Khadenm and his staff failed to carry out the proper due diligence.

It was all downhill from then on as a series of shortfalls, gaps, maladministration, and bad decision making put Azizi Khadem in loggerhead with the rest of the executive members. It is safe to say that he was exposed for what he was.

And then came his suspension in February 2022. That is 353 days after his appointment.

He was blamed for and subsequently held accountable for sub-standard training facilities for the national teams, supply of poor quality jerseys, the expulsion of Esteghlal and Persepolis from AFC Champions League, negligence in finalizing the coaching staff contracts,  delayed or non-payment of staff and coaching wages, the pseudo-VAR contract, and rumors of links to some witches and sorcerers, failure of timely response to AFC/FIFA correspondences while providing inaccurate or false information with FIFA, lack of transparency, nepotism, inflating FIFA with extra staff, the appointment of unqualified administrators in FFIRI ..etc which was said to be 43 violations.

Azizi Khadem is a classic example of how dark forces operate in Iran. Corruption is deep-rooted. While their pawn in FFIRI has left after being exposed for what he is, an incompetent and unfit person to lead Iran’s football to its glory days, the big players who put him there in the first place are still there, untouched and waiting. No doubt that at the next opportunity, they will pounce to produce another man to protect their interests. Nowadays, football is a lucrative business more than being a sport. It is being used by all sorts of nefarious characters since it can generate huge amounts of money.

It is how badly football is managed that has been the Achilles’ heel of Iran’s football for decades.

Mehdi Ghaedi is heading to Dubai.

According to the Abu Dhabi Sports Network, Mehdi Ghaedi, Esteghlal, and Team Melli forward has signed with Shabab Al-Ahli club of Dubai.

While there is a lack of official and definite confirmation, it seems that Abu Dhabi Sports Network reported TV show “Al Share Al Riyadhi” which previously broke the news of Ahmad Nourollahi’s transfer, has come up with yet another exclusive this time with the breaking of the news of Ghaedi joining Shabab Al-Ahli.

Esteghlal CEO Ahmad Madadi had traveled to the UAE a few days ago for final negotiations with Shabab Al-Ahli officials, but some Emirati media outlets had reported that Esteghlal’s condition for selling Ghaedi was his availability for the Quarter Final match of AFC Champions League game against Al-Hilal, after which Ghadei will be released to Shabab Al-Ahli.

It is said that Esteghlal Club will receive more than $ 2 million by selling Ghaedi. Previously, Persepolis midfielder Ahmad Nourollahi had joined Shabab Al-Ahli.

Shabab Al-Ahli is one of the most successful clubs in the UAE and plays in  ADNOC Pro League. UAE’s premier division. In 2017, the Dubai CSC and Al Shabab merged within Al Ahli FC making Shabab Al Ahli FC. This club has a long track record of acquiring the services of Iranian players from the 70’s. Players such as Hassan Nazari, Hassan Rowshan, Ali Karimi, Javad Kazemian, Milad Meydavoudi, and Mehrzad Madanchi have played for Al-Ahli.

The club belongs to Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Emirates of Dubai, and is practically run by his children.

Kayserispor signs Ali Karimi

Another transfer is concluded in Kayserispor, which wants to make a name for itself this season and enter the 10th league with force. After the yellow-reds reached an agreement with Seyed Majid Hosseini,  another Iranian Ali Karimi will follow suit. The experienced player will arrive in the city in the coming few days.

Having had an ambitious transfer season, Kayserispor strengthened its squad with Onur Bulut, Lionel Carole, Emrah Bahşsan, Majid Hosseini, and Bilal Bayazıt.  In the Central Anatolia team, where the work continues, the Ali Karimi bomb explodes this time. The player whose contract has expired will be signed for 4 years.

Recommended to big teams

Last season team Melli player Ali Karimi, whom Kayserispor agreed in principle to sign and expected in the city soon, was a name on the radar of four big teams in Turkey, especially Trabzonspor. The 27-year-old football player, who was recommended to the teams looking for a trouble-free name in their club, did not get the right offer he was waiting for, so he chose to move to Qatar. He played for Qatar SC and then loaned to Al-Duhail, one of the most important clubs in the country. After his contract has expired at the end of the season, he was released and will have the opportunity to play in Turkey, which he wanted so much before.

Mehrdad Minvand Former Team Melli player passes away

Mehrdad Minavand, a former player of Team Melli and Persepolis club, died at Laleh Hospital in Tehran due to coronary heart disease. The Iranian football veteran was hospitalized in Laleh Hospital on the 21st of January. He went to artificial sleep for six days at the diagnosis of the medical staff and underwent surgery. But the efforts of the medical staff to bring Mr. Minavand back to life were unsuccessful. Ali Ansarian, another former Team Melli & Persepolis player who has also played for Esteghlal, was admitted to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of Farhikhtegan Hospital in Tehran on the same day.

Ansarian, along with the late Mehrdad Minavand, participated in a special program on the Persepolis Club television network on the 11th of January, commenting on the 94th derby between Esteghlal & Persepolis.

Mehrdad Minavand was one of the most important contemporary players of Persepolis after Hadi Nowruzi, who has passed away at a young age. Nader Bagheri, Kazem Seyed Alikhani, Homayoun Behzadi, and Jafar Kashani, veterans of Persepolis Club, have died last year. But all of them were veterans and over 6 decades old. The death of Mehrdad Minavand, at the age of 45, evoked the first shock he gave to Iranian football. Minavand hanged his boots at the relatively early age of 31. None of the players in Minavand’s team in Persepolis or in the national team hung their shoes at that age. He joined Persepolis in 1996 and played 108 times for the reds in two separate spells. Ali Parvin had called Mehrdad Minavand “the best successor” to Mojtaba Moharremi in the left wing of Iranian football in 1996.

Minavand was invited to Team Melli by Mayeli-Kohan and made his debut against Turkmenistan on 25th Nov 1996. He played in 69 games scoring 4 goals in the process. His last match was in 2003.
Mehrdad Minavand’s first national goal against Thailand. The Iranian national team’s equalizer in the Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait was scored by Mehrdad Minavand and his accurate cross ended in Ali Daei scoring. At the end of the twentieth century, the Asian Football Confederation selected this goal as one of the five most beautiful goals scored by a header in the history of the Asian Cup. Mehrdad Minavand was highly valued by the coaches of national teams due to his accurate crosses with his left foot and useful play on the left side of the defensive line. He was one of the most prominent players of the Iranian national team in two tournaments, the AFC Asian Cup 1996 in the UAE and the 1998 World Cup in France. Minavand considered the loss of a one-on-one goal against Ivica Crawley, the famous Yugoslav national team goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup, to be one of the greatest regrets of his sporting life. However, Minavand’s brilliance in the games against the United States and Germany led him to European football.

Minavand is the first Iranian player to play in the Champions League when he was in Strum Graz, this is before the likes of Ali Daei, Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdabikia and Karim Bagheri, all of whom were his teammates in the 1998 World Cup.