Tag: CAS

FFIRI to pay Wilmots a further 3 Million Euros

The former head of the Legal Department of the Football Federation said: “The ruling of the Wilmots case has been issued and we have to pay an amount of around 3 million euros to this coach.”

According to Mehr reporter, Safiullah Faghanpour said ” as a result of the former Team Melli coach filing a claim demanding payment of 6 million Euros in back pay and damages, FIFA Disciplinary Committee ruled for the Belgian coach and order FFIRI pay Wilmott an amount of 6 million euros after, however, after FFIRI appealed against the amount, the case was sent to arbitration at CAS, which issued its verdict and the amount was reduced to 3 million Euros.

Faghanpour said: “There was a lot of concern here and everyone thought that we would be condemned in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but I consider what we achieved as a great success !!. The only case that we have won over the years in international tribunals is the Wilmots case, which was in CAS and the verdict was broken.”
Faghanpour mentioned that it (CAS) reduced the amount of Wilmots against Iran, but it could have reached about 12 million euros. Now the Supreme Sports Court has disregarded the claim and made the final payment due to the coach to less than 3 million euros.

Faghanpour claimed that this was a great success for the Federation and in a bizarre statement, claimed: “Now we have to pay an amount that is not very significant! ”  Faghanpour, who was talking to “Good Morning” TV show, was asked whether this decision on Wilmots’ case is final and official? He emphasized: “Yes, the verdict was issued. Probably, it will be announced this week. What I said is certain.”

Faghanpour then went on to congratulate himself on the victory !!! “I must congratulate the success we achieved in the Supreme Court of Sports!

The Belgian Marc Wilmott was appointed as the head coach of Team Melli in 2018 replacing Carlos Queiroz. He was in the job for less than 6 months and received 2 million euros from the Football Federation before losing to Bahrain and Iraq. Based on Faghanpour’s words, Wilmots has earned around 1 million euros each month in his short and disastrous time in Iran, yet he has the audacity to congratulate himself and the FFIRI for not paying 12 million euros as he claimed!

In contrast, The Croatian Dragan Skocic, whose contract is in local currency draws a salary of nearly US$100,000 a month, i.e. only 10% of what Wilmott’s earned.

It is a desperate time for Iran’s Football management and leadership. It seems the FFIRI as an organization attracts lots of charlatans, incompetent and inept people who do nothing but harm football and the country’s reputation, not to mention damage its finances. One person who is responsible for the Wilmotts debacle, Mehdi Taj is putting his name forward as a candidate for the Presidency of the FFIRI in the coming election next month!



Esteghlal, Persepolis and Gol Gohar are out of the AFC Champions League.

The professional status of three Iranian clubs Esteghlal, Persepolis, and Gol Gohar Sirjan was referred to the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee.

The Asian Football Confederation, after 20 inciting days for Iranian teams, finally decided to revoke the professional licenses of Esteghlal, Persepolis, and Gol Gohar Sirjan. As a result, these three teams, due to not obtaining a professional-grade A are prohibited from participation in Asian Club competitions. All three teams have already qualified for the AFC premier club competition, the AFC Champions League but the decision to revoke their professional licenses means they are banned from playing the next season’s edition.

The case of these three Iranian teams was also referred to the AFC Disciplinary and Ethics Committee by the decision of this confederation, so that, if it so chooses, further actions regarding the issuance of professional licenses of these three teams in Iran can be made.

It was crystal clear that under the present rules and regulations of the AFC professional clubs’ requirements, the most popular teams in Iran and arguably in the whole of Asia, will not make the grade. Both Persepolis and Esteghlal are owned, controlled, and managed by the government, in itself a major drawback in maintaining their license as a professional club. There are loads of other reasons, including failure to regulate and control their finances, mounting debts, failure to produce balance sheets, legal cases against the clubs in FIFA committees and CAS plus failure to respect contracts of foreign players with non-payment and illegal reduction of wages being the main points.

The fact that both Persepolis and Esteghlal managed to operate for years in such shambolic status is a miracle, however, their luck has run out and Iran as a proud footballing nation has received a humiliation which we might not have heard the end of it yet.

Azizi Khadem warning on the defining moments for Iran’s football.

Shehab Azizi Khadem, the head of FFIRI, discussed the dilemma of the statute of the football federation and the deadline of FIFA for the approval of the new law by the government and the parliament:

“The most important issue that I should mention is the charter of this federation. We have a very big challenge ahead. I hope some people do not complicate this issue for no logical reasons. Approval of the amended statute has been granted by the previous government. The esteemed government of the time, the General Assembly of the Football Federation, and FIFA have all approved it and now the final process is seeking the approval of Majlis (parliament). FIFA will demand the endorsement by March 1st, 2022. The exchanges we had with Infantino in Qatar, confirm that FIFA is determined that this amendment must be approved and put in motion and they have set a deadline that we have to answer to by March 1st. I hope that the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis) will be able to appease the nation with tact and rationality. “

Azizi Khadem added: “If the Iranian national team qualifies for the World Cup as it rightly deserves and expected, it coincides with the FIFA deadline. In February, Infantino will come to Tehran, which will coincide with the qualification of Team Melli. In these difficult circumstances, we hope to have harmony and not to complicate the issues further.”

The president of the federation said: “Now that the amended statute has been approved by three regulators, General Assembly of Football Federation, FIFA and the government of Iran, we expect that Iranian football will not go into turmoil in the fourth and last step of the process.”

I need to declare this important and crucial issue to ensure that everyone is aware of the facts and progress of a matter which is critical for the nation and its football.

Azizi Khadem thus made it clear that the onus is on the Majlis to approve the new FFIRI Constitution which is in line with the FIFA recommendation and guidelines. The highlight of the amendment is for the independent operation of the Football Federation and the non-interference of the government into its affairs and decision-making process.

Referring to Wilmot’s claim for compensation and damge case in the CAS court, the Head of FFIRI said: “The progress of Wilmot’s case, is that a hearing will be held next week by the legal team. Next Tuesday is a meeting with Wilmot’s legal team. I hope we will be able to reduce the amount of compensation demanded and the final vote will be issued in January.”

Iranian Females in Azadi

Fans are still awaiting on the verdict on Azadi.

The President of FFIRI Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem declared that the verdict in the case of Marc Wilmots against his federation in the Supreme Court of Sports is still pending: “We are currently waiting. We have time until the 29th of October. We hope that what is in the interest of national football will come to fruition. No Iranian is willing to waste even a penny from the pockets of these people in a contract in which this federation was not involved!!”

The remark is quite controversial coming from the head of the federation that is supposed to have signed a contract for the coach of Team Melli. All football federations of the world select, employ, and sign contracts with coaches to manage their national teams. What transpires from Azizi Khadem is that the FFIRI had no say in the contract of the Belgian coach. That raises many questions including who forced this unsuited coach on Team Melli ? and worst, why did the previous head of the FFIRI, namely one Mehdi Taj accept this failure of a coach?

Azizi Khadem continued “We hope the final verdict is not damaging to Iranian football rights.”

Regarding the introduction of video referee assistance (VAR) technology to Iran, he said  “The information that I have is that the managers of the relevant company will arrive in Tehran tonight for study and planning. They will be in Iran for about 12 days and we have agreed on trials of VAR in four Team Melli games. Necessary instructions have also been given to the league organization to list the stadiums. This is a very important and historic step for the national football, club, and refereeing community to benefit from VAR technology in the near future “

The President of the Football Federation was asked about the chances of allowing female spectators into the stadium for the match against South Korea, He said “Our colleagues are studying all the relevant details and health protocols. I hope the verdict on the presence of the fans in the game against South Korea is positive,  which is an important issue for us. Mr. Kamrani Far had a meeting today regarding the subject and the maximum number of fans allowed, which will be announced by himself.”

Azizi Khadem dodged the original question and refused to commit to allowing females into Azadi stadium. Of course, in Iran, such decisions are beyond the football federation or the Ministry of Youth and Sports authority and jurisdiction.

Iran will be hosting South Korea on the 12th of October in Matchday 4 of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers.

Iran files CAS complaint against AFC for awarding Bahrain World Cup qualifiers

The Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) decision to choose Bahrain as its centralized host for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The AFC said last month the remaining matches in the second round qualifying group, which features the hosts as well as Iran, Iraq, Cambodia, and Hong Kong, would be played in Bahrain in late May and early June.

Iran had been scheduled to play three of their last four group fixtures at home, including their return match against Bahrain, and protested to the AFC at being “deprived” of their right to host matches.

“After the announcement by the AFC Secretary-General that the decision was irreversible, the Iran Football Federation appealed against the decision … before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),” read a statement posted on the federation’s website.

“The Football Federation of Iran has requested the Court of Arbitration for a speedy review of the case.”

The AFC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iran has long had a fractious political relationship with Bahrain, tensions which were exacerbated when the island kingdom signed a peace treaty with Israel last year.

The Bahrain Football Association was fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($21,530.84) by FIFA for various offenses including the booing of the Iranian anthem during a World Cup qualifier between the nations in Riffa in 2019, which the hosts won 1-0.

Iran striker Mehdi Taremi last month raised questions about the extreme heat in Bahrain in May and June and alleged that the AFC, which is led by Bahraini royal Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, was routinely biased against his country.

Iraq leads Group C with Bahrain in second, while Iran, who have qualified for the last two World Cups, is third, five points behind the leaders with a game in hand.

Only the group winners of each of the eight groups in the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are guaranteed to advance to the next phase of the competition.

The matches are due to be played from May 31 until June 15 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw all of Asia’s World Cup qualifiers postponed during 2020.

In mid-March, the AFC awarded Bahrain hosting rights for Group C in Asian qualifying after deciding to keep the upcoming fixtures in one place due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Cup hosts Qatar, as well as China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and South Korea, were all respectively awarded hosting duties for their respective groups.

Later that month, the AFC sent a letter to the FFIRI in which it insisted that Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the AFC President, had not intervened in selecting his home country for the qualifiers.

“While we appreciate the interest by the FFIRI to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers, we would like to inform that the decision was made by the AFC general secretariat after due consideration and deliberation, factoring various areas, including but not limited to the standard of the proposed stadiums, risk assessment on logistical, commercial and financial arrangements for the participating member associations as well as the national COVID-19 pandemic status,” read the letter.

“The AFC President does not intervene in the decisions made by the AFC general secretariat.”

The FFIRI has since announced it would be appealing the hosting rights being given to Bahrain.

“The AFC has chosen Bahrain as the centralized venue and has said the venue cannot be changed at all,” read a statement from FFIRI, as reported by the Tehran Times.

“We’ve asked CAS to take the issue into consideration as soon as possible.”

Bahrain is set to host the remainder of the Asian Group C qualifying matches ©Getty Images
Bahrain is set to host the remainder of the Asian Group C qualifying matches ©Getty Images

It is reported that the Bahrain Football Association submitted its interest to host the group on February 16 and offered to pay Iran’s expenses for the competition the following day.

The Tehran Times reported that Kuwait was awarded hosting over group rivals Jordan in respect to fair play, giving Kuwait their anticipated home tie.

Iran was not given this same treatment in relation to Bahrain, with its football authorities expressing concerns over a two-week period in late March and refusing to travel to Bahrain’s capital Manama for a proposed meeting on April 3.

FFIRI had to file an appeal to CAS by March 31, which it reportedly did minutes ahead of the legal deadline and this was acknowledged last Monday (April 5). An online meeting involving AFC President Sheikh Salman and AFC general secretary Dato’ Windsor John took place on Tuesday (April 6), but the Iran appeal was not discussed. Iran had been scheduled to host three of the four remaining matches before COVID-19 caused issues with qualifying. These were set to take place in Tehran against rivals Iraq, Bahrain, and Hong Kong, while their only away game against Cambodia was set to be held in Pnom Penh.

Mehdi Torabi heading to QSL side Al Arabi Club.

The Qatari sports publication Ustad Al-Doha reported on Saturday that Persepolis midfielder Mehdi Torabi is on the final stages of signing an agreement with Al-Arabi Club. According to the source, Mehdi Torabi is preparing to depart Iran to play in the Qatar Stars League QSL after he terminated his contract with the reigning champion Persepolis.

Ustad Al-Doha announced the news on its Twitter page and confirmed that Mehdi Torabi has reached a final agreement with Al-Arabi Club and is expected to join the team in the next few days. Al-Arabi Club which has Mehrdad Mohammadi in its squad and the presence of these two Iranian players in this team will be of great interest to Iranian fans. Al-Arabi drew 2-2 in their first match in the new season of the Qatar Stars League.

Team Melli midfielder, Torabi was singled out by Carlos Queiroz the former Team Melli coach as the one player that should be playing outside of Iran. His comments during the AFC Asian Cup 2019 was in praise of the player who was still in the domestic league. Perspolis and most of the Iranian clubs are in serious financial trouble and have been taken to courts or arbitration by many former players and coaches for failing to pay the wages as per contract. Persepolis has recently asked the Central Bank of Iran for a loan of  380,000 Euros to pay for former coach Branko Ivankovic after being ordered to by CAS. The club has no collateral or any significant assets for such loans but huge outstanding liabilities.

More players are expected to leave Persepolis.

FFIRI taking AFC and Saudis to court.

Mehdi Taj, the President of Iran’s football association FFIRI has announced that a delegation headed by Ali Kaffashian will proceed to Switzerland to present Iran’s case against the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Saudi Arabia.

After the breaking of political relation between the two countries, the Saudi Football authorities refused to allow its teams to travel to Iran citing security fears. The AFC , which is led by a Bahraini Shaikh, and no doubt influenced by dominating Arab lobby in the Asian Ruling body, immediately accepted the Saudi argument and ordered both countries to play their matches against each other on neutral ground. This move, not only put a huge burden on Iranian teams which are already suffering financial hardship but also deprived them from that world-famous passionate support they usually receive in Azadi stadium.

Iran’s FFIRI grudgingly accepted the AFC ruling initially , however, it consulted several law firms and international legal consultancies to determine the legitimacy of the ruling by AFC. Neither United Nation nor FIFA or any other world bodies for that matter, has announced that Iran is a war zone or it is an unsafe venue for football or other  sport activities. The Saudi move was purely politically motivated and AFC had failed to execute its due diligence when it issued the ruling against Iran. The AFC ruling was against AFC’s own principles about politics in football. 

As recently as last month, the AFC has written to its Member Associations reiterating that all stakeholders involved in Asian football must respect the principle of political neutrality.

The letter sent by the AFC stressed that the principle is a cornerstone of both the AFC and of the international sports movement, and is reflected in Article 3.2 of the AFC Statutes, which states: “the AFC is neutral in all matters of politics and religion”.

In the case that FFIRI has lodged in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ,  the Iranians are demanding that AFC reverse its ruling and allow Iranian teams and clubs to exercise its right to play at home grounds in front of its own crowds,  in addition to a demand  for compensation for all the expenses incurred by travelling Iranian teams and officials. The defendant is AFC and its head, Shk. Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain, 

The case put forward by FFIRI will be quite interesting for Qatar. There is very little doubt that Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain teams will refuse to play in Qatar putting due to the recent break of relationship. As such this will put immense pressure on the AFC to obey the Saudi lobby and traet Qatari teams the same as it treated the Iranians. Qatar, like Iran , is a safe country and will be hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022.  No doubt that the Saudi lobby will claim some terrorism allegation for its case against Qatar.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS; French: Tribunal arbitral du sport, TAS) is an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport through arbitration. Its headquarters are in Lausanne(Switzerland) and its courts are located in New York City, Sydney and Lausanne. Temporary courts are established in current Olympic host cities.