Tag: Hazfi Cup

Chaos reigns supreme in Hazfi Cup Final

The final of the Hazfi cup between Persepolis and Damash Gilan had to be abandoned several times after chaotic scenes in Ahvaz threatening to turn into unrest. The match was eventually on after 2 hours and 15 minutes delay!!

This final was between David and Goliath of Iran’s football, Persepolis arguably the most popular team in Iran and Asia and the minnows from second division Damash Gilan from city of Rasht.  Damash was the unlikeliest finalist of the cup, however they had a good run and managed to display some heroics to reach the final ahead of the likes of Esteghlal, Zob Ahan and Sepahan.

Angry fans throwing objects

The full capacity newly built Foolad Arena in neutral city of Ahvaz, was full to capacity hours before the start of the match when it was announced that there will be a 30 minutes delay presumably to ensure the safety of the spectators.

However, despite the referee leading the teams for the start, Damash players refused to join the pre-match lineup and continued warming up. The apparent reason for refusal to play was an order from their Club chairman. About 300 Damash fans were not allowed entry by the match organizers and were stuck behind closed doors leading to strong protests and threats from Damash Chairman.

Despite efforts from players such as Biranvand and Jalal Hosseini pleading with their own fans to give up their seats for Damash fans, their pleas went to deaf ears as no one was interested to do so. Fans made an effort and bought tickets to watch a cup final and there was no reason anyone would want to give up the seat, especially the opposition team. It looked like a ridiculous solution and desperate attempt to start the match.

Damash team insisted that they will not play until they see their supporters in the stands.

There were no official announcements from the speakers on the progress and status of the match leading to unsettle the fans. Unrest started and the situation was becoming volatile.

After nearly two hours and 15 minutes of late kick off, the match was started but not before angry fans pelted Damash players with all sort of objects. Damash team ran for cover under barrage of objects being thrown at them, without any protection from the security forces or riot police!

The final of the cup that is supposed to be the showcase of any football federation’s season. In the last few finals, it has been chaotic, unruly and quite messy at the end of each match. However, this edition started (finally) quite messy and ended in shame nearly resulting in riots with high risk to the fans and the public.

The accountable party must be the FFIRI, who has a track record in incompetence, poor organization and poor management. This was a shameful day for Iran’s football and a warning for outsiders of the risk of playing important tournaments in Iran under the present Federation.

Later in the evening, the Disciplinary Committee of the FFIRI issued an communique regarding the events of the Hazfi Cup final in which it mentioned that “As the result of inadequacies and lack of control in the process of holding the Cup Final between the Persepolis Tehran and Damash Gilan, which lead To disorder, chaos, and damage to the national football credibility and reputation. Mr. Saeed Fattahi [Head of FFIRI League Organization committee] has been suspended from all football activities until further notice.”

It also added that Mr. Heydar Baharvand and Abdol Kazem Taleghani are required to provide explanations regarding the events that took place during the match.

Saeed Fattahi who is notorious in Iran for involving himself in every matter to do with the federation and issuing unsanctioned statements on behalf of the Federation, was supposed to be the chief organizer of the match who has forgotten to allocate tickets for the Damash Team fans.

Marc Wilmots leads first Team Melli practice session.

The first training session of Team Melli lead by Marc Wilmots was carried today with the presence of assistant coach Vahid Hashemian .

Prior to start of the session, the players and technical staff of Team Melli team handed flowers bouquets to the media personnel present at the training ground as a gesture of appreciation. . Persepolis players, who were scheduled to play the final of the Hazfi Cup in Ahvaz were absent today. Apart from Beiranvand, Torabi and Noorolahi, from Persepolis, the injured Rashid Mazaheri and  Sardar Azmoun were absent from the session.

Hossein Hosseini has replaced Mazaheri in the squad. The players started with a warm up run along the ground, then the group training consisted of practice with single-shot passes and stretching exercises. During the training, Ramin Rezaeian made errors in executing one or two moves, which forced Wilmots to give him a reminder.

The training continued in several routines under continuous instructions from Wilmots. Despite the various issues with the official sponsor of Team Melli kit, the team was wearing the Adidas kit, but it seems that the use of this kit is not expected to last for long. Media  were asked to leave after 25 minutes to allow Wilmots the freedom of continuing his work.