Tag: Gianni Infantino

Mehdi Taj “FIFA still investigating Iran-Lebanon match incidents.”

The President of Iran’s football federation FFIRI Mehdi Taj said that the verdict on the controversial Iran-Lebanon match in Mashad in World Cup 2022 qualifiers is still under investigation by FIFA.

According to Taj, the case is still open with FIFA.

“Our case is in the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and the President of FIFA can only postpone it. He has no authority or influence beyond that,” Taj declared “the jurisdiction and the verdict is only in the hands of the Disciplinary Committee.”

Infantino helped Iran before the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022 to prevent what would have been a serious risk of Team Melli being sanctioned. After the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup, the serious violation committed by the government and security forces at and around Imam Reza Stadium will be addressed. The violations include preventing females from entering the stadium despite carrying official tickets, using undue force in doing so, and serious overcrowding and lack of safe practices and crowd control measures at entry and exits of the venue.

FIFA Disciplinary Committee must issue a ruling in this regard, which could be anything from depriving Team Melli of playing home games in Iran to heavy fines or both.

There could also be other ramifications for FFIRI as, despite the promises given to FIFA about females being allowed into stadiums, the hardliners and religious hierarchy are not happy with such a ruling and have defied FIFA and forced their own will on the subject matter. Suspension of Iran from FIFA and AFC is a possibility, though remote.

FIFA ignores calls for exclusion Iran from the World Cup.

The campaign to kick Iran out of the World Cup is still active and being pursued by various factions each looking at their own interests, however, it is pretty clear that FIFA has no interest in heeding this subject.

The Italian media, unashamedly are the flag bearers of this campaign hoping that their pathetic national team that did not qualify for the World Cup gets in from the backdoor. Iranian activists abroad are also chasing after FIFA due to the recent and ongoing brutal treatment of women and protesters in the country, the British have joined the party also claiming Iran is assisting the Russians by providing them with attack drones for use in bombing Kyiv in Ukraine. So, according to British twisted logic, Iran has to be thrown out of the World Cup while bombing Baghdad and killing thousands of civilians in the process was for the benefit of the Iraqis!

It remains to be seen if any other country will file a case against Iran’s participation in the FIFA World Cup perhaps due to the rising prices of pistachio, Oil, Gas, and Persian carpets!

The Iranian activist, who certainly have the right to campaign against the regime, are simply barking at the wrong tree. This  Team Melli is NOT a representative of the oppressive regime but a team that plays for the honor of the country regardless of who rules. The world is full of dictators and tyrants but you hardly hear that their national teams are banned or excluded from competitions except under exceptional conditions such as war and aggression against other countries. By sending letters to FIFA, the Iranian activist abroad would only make some noise nothing but.

While some Italian media had claimed that FIFA will decide on Iran’s exclusion from the World Cup in its meeting this week in New Zealand, there was no discussion about Iran’s football at Saturday’s meeting of the international body. To counter the Fake news, Marca newspaper said: “This morning’s meeting of the FIFA Supreme Council was held in Auckland, during which there was no discussion about the exclusion of the Iranian national football team from the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

Contrary to recent rumors and campaigns, the participation of Team Melli in the World Cup is a certainty. Iran is in Group B with England, Wales, and the USA with the first match scheduled for 21 November when Team Melli will open the campaign against England.

While Iran’s exclusion from the World Cup in the FIFA Counsel meeting was not even on the agenda, the hottest news from the meeting in Aukland was FIFA’s anger with broadcasters.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has criticized broadcasters for what he calls unacceptably low offers for rights to screen the Women’s World Cup next year

Hamid Estili “4 friendly matches are being finalized for Team Melli”

Hamid Estili, the Manager of Team Melli, talked about the latest plans of the Team and the preparation programs before participating in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar: “Our most important training camp will be held in June for two weeks. We have planned with Mr. Skocic to play four friendly matches in Qatar. Fortunately, we have a good relationship with Qataris and they have been quite helpful and responsive with us.”

Estili continued: “Mirshad Majedi (acting head of the Football Federation) is fluent in English and communicated well with Mr. Infantino, President of FIFA and the Qatar Federation. The manager of the national football team also referred to negotiations with other countries to play a friendly match on the sidelines of the World Cup draw and added: “We had fruitful talks with several FIFA memeber associations regarding playing friendly matches, unfortunately, we will not be able to play against the European countries in June because they are still involved in their domestic league and cup competition themselves,”

Estili also mentioned that talks for a friendly game against the USA were in advanced stages, but due to the draw which put Iran and USA in the same group, a friendly match is now out of question.put

FFIRI planning early qualification ceremony

While the Football fans in Iran are still awaiting the approval of the National Headquarters against Corona to attend Team Melli’s upcoming matches against Iraq and the UAE, The football federation is planning early qualification to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

the Iranian Football Federation has prepared so that it can hold the best possible ceremony with the presence of special guests. Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem, President of the FFIRI, who had two meetings with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, invited him to watch one of the matches of the Iranian national team on 27th January or 2nd February, which, according to the federation’s website, was agreed by FIFA President. Infantino has moved his headquarters to Doha to oversee the progress and preparation for the World Cup 2022.

The reduction in the number of deaths in the country due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus also raised the hopes of the Football Federation to get approval from the health authorities in the country allowing the attendance of fans in Azadi Stadium, even with limited numbers. It is alleged that the National Headquarters against Corona has verbally agreed to a 30% attendance at all football stadiums, but such instructions have not yet been transmitted t to the Ministry of Sports and then to the Football Federation. On the other hand, the coronavirus mutation called “omicron” has become a serious challenge for the presence of special guests. With 5 days left to play Iraq and 10 days to meet the UAE, Infantino has not yet officially responded to the Iranian Federation’s request to be in Tehran.


However, the public relations department of the Football Federation will continue monitoring developments in this issue until 24 hours before each game. Considering the possibility of Infantino’s imminent trip and the possibility of announcing his readiness, the possibility of the presence of male and female fans in the upcoming matches of the Iranian national team is not certain. Ali Azari Jahromi, the government spokesman, announced last Tuesday that a special meeting had been held between the president of the football federation, the Minister of Sports to prepare for the matches, however, with four days left, there is no sign of online sales of the tickets for the Iraq and UAE matches.

The Iranian national football team will host Iraq on the 27th of January at Azadi Stadium. The victory for Dragan Skucic’s team in each of these matches will result in the early Qualifications of Team Melli to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Memorandum of collaboration signed between Iran and Qatar

Iran and Qatar have signed a four-year football Memorandum of collaboration commencing before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The presidents of FFIRI Shehab Azizi Khadem and Sheikh Hamad bin Ahmed Al Thani, President of the Qatar Football Association, attended the signing ceremony earlier today (Thursday) in Doha.  According to the memorandum, the two federations will collaborate in holding friendly matches, exchange of training facilities as well as training camps at all levels of different age categories of their respective national football teams, including men and women. The long-term collaboration between the two sides, which will soon be implemented in various fields, is important due to the good relations between the two countries, ease of logistics and transportation, proximity, and cultural commonalities of the two countries.

With Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, its state-of-the-art facilities and modern infrastructure will be available to National Iranian football teams in Qatar. In this meeting, Hamidreza Mehr Ali (acting vice president of the FFIRI), Rafiei (legal advisor to the president of FFIRI) and Dragan Skocic (head coach of the national team) accompanied Azizi Khadem. Also present at the meeting was FIFA’S Deputy Secretary-General Football, Mattias Grafström.   Last night on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the FIFA Arab Cup, Azizi Khadem had a meeting with Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, who is scheduled to travel to Iran in February 2022.

Azizi Khadem has traveled to Qatar at the official invitation of the President of the Qatar Football Federation. Qatar will host the Qatar FIFA World Cup in November 2022, and the Iranian national team is just one step away from qualifying for the tournament. With this contract, it can be hoped that the national team will take advantage of Qatar’s sports facilities to hold camps and friendly matches within a year of the tournament.

Why is the match tomorrow in Azadi closed to the fans?

If you have been following the events of Iran’s football lately, you must have heard the good news of Azadi being opened for a limited percentage of its capacity for fans under the strict protocols. The requirement of AFC includes 2 shots of COVID19 vaccinations amongst a list of other requirements. The opening of the Azadi gate was given by  FFIRI President Aziz Khadem and the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sajjadi.

48 hours before the match, there was a U-turn as FFIRI announced that Azadi will not be open to the fans after all. The football federation did not specifically mention the reason for the change of heart but leaks from FFIRI headquarters insinuated that due to some administrative difficulties, the FFIRI is not in full compliance and therefore no fans can be allowed to enter the stadium for the match against Korea Rep which has to be conducted behind closed doors.

in a matter of minutes, accusations of incompetence, lying, and downright ineptitude were thrown at the football federation in social media plus some semi-official media outlets leading the masses to believe that the failure to adhere to the AFC health protocol is the direct responsibility of the federation with their late application for authorization being one of the main reasons.

 Somehow, this account of administrative failure did not make sense. Many sources, including the FFIRI itself, have declared that the application was sent ahead of time, so there was no question of delay. Like always in Iran, one has to dig quite deep to get to the truth and this one is no exception.

ISNA sport corrospondance said

While Team Melli fans were rejoicing and preparing to buy tickets to enter Azadi Stadium and celebrate the end of the two-year absence from the stadium, the Football Federation, after two months of storytelling, was finally unable to exercise its full right of hosting, and now Team Melli will be deprived of the support of the fans in one of the major Asian classic encounters.”

It seems that mismanagement and lack of planning have taken root in Iranian football and this football is not going to breathe new life by changing its management. In the absence of infrastructure and financial resources, the fans are the only important and reliable assets of Iranian football. Thanks to the shortcomings and empty promises of the managers of the Football Federation, Team Melli will be deprived of this valuable capital in the match against South Korea. In the World Cup qualifiers, Iran is only host on paper.”

There is no argument about the incompetence of the federations managers, as the ISNA reporter rightly stated, but after some in-depth inquiry and insiders info, this time it seems that the federation was not that incompetent to be unable to get the process right for a straight forward authorization application from AFC. It is not rocket science after all as even FFIRI can complete it!.

So, what is the real reason for preventing the fans?

There are several theories but the one that is closet to reality in our opinion is the FIFA pressure on Iran to allow women entry into the stadium.

It was only in June that FIFA applied pressure to ensure that Iran allows female fans and expected the authorities to comply, or else. Under Rouhani women were allowed for a couple of matches, but now with Ebrahim Raisi in power, a hardline cleric who was previously head of the country’s judiciary, and has ultra-conservative political views the situation has changed, to the worst. Images of Iranian females waving flogs, taking selfies, wearing lipsticks, or cheering their national team, do not fit the bill. It could also be due to pressure from his hardliner peers’ which has forced the authorities from rescinding the agreement or the promise given to FIFA.

Allowing women in stadiums in Iran in 2019 for the first time since the revolution. was a personal triumph for the Chief of FIFA after a strong reminder from the World Football governing body that Iran would face expulsion from the World Cup if they do not follow the FIFA rules. “Fifa’s stance on the access of women to the stadiums in Iran has been firm and clear: women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. For all football matches,” Fifa had said in a statement at the time.

So, Covid is one great convenient and timely excuse for the authorities to dodge the issue and close the great Azadi for everyone.  Technically speaking, Iran has not broken FIFA rules on women in stadiums.

It can be easily said that Iran has outfoxed FIFA, AFC, Infantino, and everyone else by this simple step. Iran cannot be sanctioned because this step does not target women only but everybody.

After all, the west has experienced firsthand the cunning and skills of the Iranian while negotiating the JCPOA. The Iranians managed to settle everything and agree on terms in 2015 only for one not-so-smart Donald Trump, a shallow person, an inexperienced politician,  to tear it off thinking that he can outsmart the Iranians by quitting the pact and exerting more pressure demanding more strict terms.

History says Iranians did not budge and did not accept the blackmail while it witnessed Trump’s failure. The businessman President of the USA could not outdo the Iranians and it seems like FIFA, a much less of an adversary to the Americans, will see the same fate. After all, they are dealing with carpet merchants with a tradition dating thousands of years.

Maryam Shojaei to be honored.

Maryam Shojaei, who mounted a campaign — first anonymously and later publicly — that led to Iran allowing women to attend men’s soccer matches, is being honored with the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award, ESPN announced Tuesday.

The award is part of the Sports Humanitarian Awards, which typically are handed out during the week of the ESPYS. This year, the awards will be given out on various ESPN programs.


Women had been banned from watching men’s games since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution, with only a few exceptions made for small groups on rare occasions. Shojaei, whose brother Masoud Shojaei is the captain of the men’s national team, initially criticized the ban on social media anonymously. She then started a five-year battle to allow women to see matches live in her country.

Shojaei, attended the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015, displaying a banner but keeping her identity hidden. By 2018, she had helped create the #NoBan4Women petition, and she went to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Russia, where her banners were confiscated but she revealed her identity.

She kept pushing FIFA to uphold its policies against gender discrimination, and eventually, the soccer governing body sent a delegation to Iran, which resulted in women being allowed to attend men’s international matches.

In October 2019, women were allowed to watch the Iranian men’s national team beat Cambodia 14-0 in Tehran in a World Cup qualifier. The initial lot of 3,500 tickets for women sold out almost immediately, and an additional 1,100 were released — about 5% of the total tickets in the stadium.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged Iranian authorities to open up stadiums to women for domestic league games, not just World Cup qualifiers.

“This is a very positive step forward, and one which FIFA, and especially Iranian girls and women, have been eagerly waiting for,” FIFA said in a statement in October 2019. “The passion, joy and enthusiasm they showed today was remarkable to see and encourages us even more to continue the path we have started. History teaches us that progress comes in stages and this is just the beginning of a journey.

“Consequently, FIFA now looks more than ever towards a future when ALL girls and women wishing to attend football matches in Iran will be free to do so, and in a safe environment.

“There can be no stopping or turning back now.”

The ESPYS will be televised on ESPN on June 21 at 9 p.m. ET. The Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award is sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Iranian Females in Azadi

FIFA President’s statement on today’s match in Tehran



For the first time in nearly 40 years, several thousand women have been allowed into a stadium in IR Iran to watch a football match played by men.

This is a very positive step forward, and one which FIFA, and especially Iranian girls and women, have been eagerly waiting for. The passion, joy and enthusiasm they showed today was remarkable to see and encourages us even more to continue the path we have started. History teaches us that progress comes in stages and this is just the beginning of a journey.

Consequently, FIFA now looks more than ever towards a future when ALL girls and women wishing to attend football matches in IR Iran will be free to do so, and in a safe environment.

There can be no stopping or turning back now.

I would like to thank both the IR Iran FA, the AFC and the authorities involved for their efforts and cooperation. FIFA will continue to work closely with them, to help ensure that the right thing is done, which is to allow all fans, irrespective of gender, to have the chance to go to the stadiums and enjoy a game of football. Since I arrived at FIFA, we fight to see this objective fulfilled.

But, above all, today I want to say a very big thank you and record our utmost respect to all of the Iranian girls and women who courageously stood and are standing up for their rights.

FIFA delgation to observe Iran-Cambodia match.

A delegation from FIFA will observe Iran-Cambodia game in Azadi Stadium to assess the conditions of women’s entry into football matches in Iran and compliance with FIFA rules.

Team Melli will have to face off against Cambodia in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying match. France’s former football star and a World Cup winner Youri Raffi Djorkaeff is one of the delegates that will travel to Tehran to check on the conditions and the credibility of the Iranian authorities and how genuine they are in allowing unrestrictive admission of women into football venues.

Djorkaeff who has been appointed by FIFA said  “Our team’s duty is to create positive social change around the world, and one of our objectives is to make football more accessible to women in the Middle East, especially in countries like Iran,”

The World Cup 1998 winner continued “It is forbidden for women to enter stadiums. The Iranian issue is our subject and I plan to be able to attend Iran Cambodia match. Our presence is a testament to FIFA’s determination.”

FIFA president Infantino said last week: “We have been assured that women will be allowed to attend the next match of the Iranian national team, which will be held on October 10 .”

Iran has the dubious double distinction of being the only country in the world that bans women entry into football stadiums and forces them to wear head scarfs (Hijab). Even the Saudi Arabian government, which until recently was practising the most restrictive Wahabi system of Islam has allowed women attending football matches and also has declared that Hijab is no more compulsory except in the holy cities of Mecca and Madinah.

The religious hardliners in Iran claim that football stadiums are aggressive men dominated places that do not have a clean civil surrounding with rival fans resorting to profanities and sometimes violence against rivals, a claim that a few can argue against. However, such decisions like attending a football match must be left to the individuals rather than being forced up peoples throat as Human Right principles dictate.

It is clear that FIFA is very serious about this issue and will slap a ban on the Iranian Football which will have grave consequences amongst the millions of passionate Iranian fans and quite possibly lead to social unrest in Iran.



FIFA deadline on allowing females into stadiums

FIFA deadline for Iran, to allow females in the stadiums starting with FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying matches has expired today, and now the Iranian Football Association is forced to allow families and ladies into the stadiums while hosting Team Melli matches.

In other word, the promise given by President Hassan Rouhani to the FIFA president Infantino needs to be implemented else Iranian football will possibly be sanctioned.

 12 days after Iran and Syria’s friendly match at Azadi Stadium, Gianni Infantino, in a letter to the Iranian Football Federation, praised the presence of women in that match, requesting that the process be continued, and the ban on the presence of women in Iranian stadiums fully lifted.  In this letter, a deadline for Iran’s football was set on the 15th of July, after which women would be free to attend all stadiums hosting all football matches at national and international levels.

This did not occur last time Team Melli played against the Omid team, but in any case, that match was played behind closed doors and was off-limits to the public in Azadi.

The FIFA president mentioned in the letter that Iran’s football should take a lesson from the recent Women’s World Cup in France and free up the presence of families at Iranian stadiums. Infantino has pointed out that FIFA is aware of the cultural challenges and simply wants to make progress in this regard, not only because of the progress of women in the world, but also as a matter of fact, and is one of the fundamental principles of the FIFA Constitution.

On Monday, Mahdi Taj stated that the response letter was sent to FIFA and the federation is allowing women in the national team home games in the 2022 World Cup.

With the end of the FIFA deadline, a big challenge is brewing for the football executives because, despite the promises of authorities in the past, there has not been a definite step in the preparation of women’s presence in the stadium, which still has a lot of legal prohibitions and sensitivities.

The problem, of course, is not the FFIRI which is quite content to allow women in the stadium, but the religious fundamentalist who are determined to force their extremist ideas on the population.