Tag: Mirshad Majedi

Milad Kor suspended for 1 year due to crtisicm of FFIRI and U20 team coach

Milkad Kor, one of the pillars of the Iran U20 team that has failed to qualify beyond the quarter-final after losing to the finalist Iraq, has been given a heavy-handed suspension by the FFIRI for daring to speak out against the Federation and lack of support for the U20 team in AFC Asian Cup U20 that was held in Uzbekistan.

MIlad Kor , Tractor’s defender was suspended from all football activities by the Disciplinary Committee of FFIRI. He was also handed a heft fine payable to the federation.

Interestingly, unlike the rest of the world, this federation did NOT mention why the player, one of Iran’s better future prospects, has been given such a heavy sentence and whether he was allowed to defend himself against any supposed allegations. The tyrannical sentence is in line with the regime’s complete intolerance of its system including expression of thought that is published in a publication under government control. There is no independent journalism in Iran. Amazingly not one of the Iranian news and sports publications that published the news of Kor’s ban attempted to seek an explanation or question the FFIRI. All of them just copied and pasted the FFIRI disciplinary committee’s notice which was published on the federation’s own website!!

In the longish interview with ‘Hamshahri; newspaper, Kor’s main criticism was directed at Samad Marfavi, the team’s coach, and the lack of support by the federation. There were no bonuses paid to the players, he claims. Kor was also critical for the team’s management’s refusal to use the swimming pool for recovery like the rest of the teams because the pool was mixed and there could be girls swimming too!  While the defender had some praise for Mirshad Majedi, he was quite scathing of Marfavi’s behavior and discriminatory acts among the players in the squad.

Meanwhile, Kor and for the first time said that the players were just about to go on strike and refuse to take part in training before the Iraq game because of the indifference of the management towards their demands.  ” In the Vietnam game, we were determined to do our best to prove ourselves and we got what we wanted, but in the Iraq game, we had no motivation. Some players did not have money to buy shoes and took loans to buy them. Some players did not have a club to play for as such they had no income. The whole situation transpired into a toxic atmosphere. We were mentally in a terrible state plus we really never had proper recovery exercise before the match with Iraq” Milad Kor said in the interview.

Hamshari reporter asked Kor “What was the story of not going to the swimming pool?” to which Kor replied ” They didn’t allow us the use of the swimming pool because there were girls in there! Well,  if this is the case, why bother forming a team when basic requirements cannot be entertained? Our bodies were fatigued half destroyed and yet we were deprived of cool water. Excuse me, but this is no back alley team that does not have such facilities and if there are ones, you are not allowed to use them.”

“In Tehran, Marfavi was not in a good mood at all since he had not received his money from the federation, he did not even come to the airport to see us off. Later, after he got his money, he joined the team. But he did not lend support to the demands of players’ bonuses. If a head coach wants the good of a player, he needs to stand by him, but this gentleman was selfish. We finished first in the group of death and had an easy quarter-final draw. Iraq also plays like us and its style of play was like ours. But we had no motivation, we were empty from the beginning of the game. I used to say that I wish we were in Iran and called several people and told them to at least bring supplements. “

“A whole generation was wasted. Our generation was golden and by the grace of my mother, we could have won the Asian championship and won the World Cup or at least advanced from the group, but they wasted our generation, with their incompetent hands. We beat Vietnam and became the group leader, but…”

The 19 years old player who is born in Bandar Torkaman, is fully supported by his club Tractor which intends to file a strong appeal against the harsh suspension.

A shock in Iran football. Mehdi Taj selected as head of FFIRI!

In the election of Iran’s Football Federation which was held this morning, rank outsider Mehdi Taj managed to win the presidency of this federation with more than double the votes of the incumbent acting head  Mirshad Majedi.

The man that left the federation under a cloud of accusations, claims of corruption, and nepotism and was legally pursued by several entities managed to dodge all the legal obstacles to his nomination. Reservation on his candidacy by clubs, a horde of managers, coaches, and players were all to no avail as Taj registered his name as a candidate for the presidency and comfortably won the hot seat about three years after he left it in tatters.  Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem who replaced Taj was fired from the post after less than a year in FFIRI.

The elections of the Football Federation started on Tuesday morning. Mehdi Taj, Azizullah Mohammadi, and Mirshad Majdi were the candidates for the presidency of the Football Federation. On vote counting, Mehdi Taj won 50 votes. The current acting head of FFIRI  Mirshad Majedi received 25 votes while Azizullah Mohammadi got 4 votes only.

On May 7, 2016, the last occasion where Mehdi Taj contested the elections, he won with 50 votes out of a total of 73 votes received at the Football Federation Assembly. He resigned from his post on December 29th, 2019 claiming health issues and a mild heart attack.

The first reaction to Taj’s return was the immediate resignation of the Head Coach of Team Melli’s futsal team.

Vahid Shamsaei that is in the midst of preparing the Futsal team to defend its Asian title in Kuwait, submitted his resignation in protest. Close associates informed the press that Shamsaei refuses to work with Taj and be associated with anything that Taj is involved in.

Shams calls for total detachment of FFIRI from government influence.

Hossein Shams, the former head coach of Iran’s national futsal team defined the upcoming elections of the football federation as crucial and demanded full independence of the federation from political institutions.

“In my opinion, the head of the federation should be strong and independent and not a servant of the minister, pressure groups, or the parliamentarians. Don’t let non-football personnel run the federation and do not allow decisions to be made by outsiders whose interests and objectives are not necessarily in tandem with the development and progress of football and futsal. Try to improve football and futsal yourself. He should not allow the interference of the minister, he should not let the parliamentarians and the Article 90 Commission make decisions for football, and he and his team alone should do all the work. “

“This football that we are witnessing now is the end result of continuous interference from outsiders that use all sorts of tactics to influence outcomes and systematically interfere in major decisions. The head of the football federation must be strong enough to withstand such pressure and be independent of the government and parliament. After all, this is the normal practice. This is the most important feature that a federation president should possess.”

Regarding the possible competition between Azizullah Mohammadi, Mehdi Taj, and Mirshad Majdi for the presidency of the Football Federation, Shams said: “I have no idea if they have been vetted and approved yet. It has not yet been confirmed and none of these 3 have presented a plan that one could decide which one to choose. I believe that someone should be elected whose plans are practical and doable. Regrettably, as soon as they win the office, they have achieved their objective which is primarily to win recognition and hold the office of president. “

“History tells us that most of them do not fulfill any of their promises”.

The football federation in Iran has historically suffered interference and pressure from the government with impunity. The fact that the federation is virtually bankrupt and depends a lot on government handouts, pressures the leadership of the FFIRI to abide by the government but that is all done under the table fearing FIFA Sanction.

Despite the constant denials of the Ministry of Sports, it is no secret that the head of FFIRI has to visit the ministry whenever a major decision needs to be taken. The latest episode with Dragan Skocic is one typical example.

The government owns two of the biggest and most popular clubs in Iran Esteghlal and Persepolis and refusing to let go despite decades of promises to do so.

What should happen now in Team Melli.

Mirshad Majedi and the rest of the board members of the federation, after a long and winding meeting , decided on the status quo and that the incumbent head coach of Team Melli shall remain in charge up to the FIFA World Cup 2022 and beyond.

That was the best decision possible under the circumstances and taken for the sake of Team Melli with crucial days left up to the world cup. Majedi did not succumb to pressure exerted mainly by the Minister of Sport and some other elements who were influenced by a group of Team Melli players.

To be clear, the categorical refusal of Ali Daei to take over from Skocic despite several attempts or pleas, was the catalyst in Skocic’s survival. There were no alternative viable options and the conditions of Team Melli would have been disastrous if Skocic was sacked.

Despite reaching the wisest decisions possible by the FFIRI leadership, the problem with Team Melli is far from over. There must be action by the FFIRI to eliminate the rebels in the squad else these disruptive elements will make the Croat job impossible in Qatar. There is no doubt among many experts that some players will not be happy with this decision while some begrudgingly will tag along.

Hamid Estili’s position

The man that should support Team Melli’s coaching staff has taken a side and worked against Skocic. He was a member of the Technical Committee that decided that the Croat is not qualified as a coach of Team Melli.  Hamid Estili must accept his poor insight and should resign his post immediately to save face. Estili however, is a man of thousand faces and changes positions in a blink. He will try to weasel his way out of this situation, however, it is better for the federation to sack him from the job before he inflicts damage.

The rebel players.

Including the rebel players who are led by Mehdi Taremi in the squad for the World Cup is a serious risk. In addition to Taremi, there are players such as Karim Ansarifard, Ehsan Haj Safy, and Saeid Ezatollahi, with some mention of Alireza Jahanbaksh being in this rebellion group.

No doubt that Jahanbakhsh and Taremi are key players and getting rid of them could be a disadvantage to Team Melli. Their experience and abilities are undeniable, however, much depends on how Skocic will perceive these players and likewise the player’s comfort level with the coach, especially after some bad feelings made publicly by some of them.

It is a difficult formula and there must be a middle-of-the-road solution. Keeping all the rebel players is certainly a risk. From the track record,  Skocic does not score high in the discipline department. He is not like Daei or Queiroz both of who are no-nonsense coaches and have no time for indiscipline. So, controlling the rebels and their effect on the whole squad could be a difficult task for him. The leadership of the football federation must come to his support and coordinate with the coaching staff and in consultation with Karim Bagheri, who was an assistant coach until lately when Persepolis pulled him back,  should come up with the right decision.

One school of thought believes that some of the rebel players are dispensable and could be thrown out as an example to the rest, while the two most valuable of them should be kept under strict behavioral restrictions and maintained discipline. The reputation and name of Iran especially at such a level of competition are far greater than the interest of some players never mind what European league they are playing in.

If a player is selected to represent his country, he has no right to decide who the coach is and must give 100% to the team under whichever coach is appointed, period.

Blatant interference by the Minister of Sports in deciding on Team Melli Head Coach!!!

The minister of Sports Hamid Sajjadi, stressing that the post of the head coach of the national team should be resolved sooner, announced an important meeting with the head of the football federation to determine the position of the national team bench.

Regarding the situation of Team Melli, he noted that “the uncertainty of the national team should end soon. Today, one of our meetings will be with Mirshad Majdi. They (FFIRI) have carried out studies and conducted inquiries. Today we are talking to each other and we are with the national team and we will help. We have received the necessary support from the government to provide any material and moral support to the technical decisions of the federation.”

Sajjadi continued “It is not advisable for the Ministry of Sports to interfere in any of the sports fields. Even in athletics, I don’t allow them to interfere in technical matters. We respect the technical point of view of the federations.”

In response to the question of whether Iranian coaches should be selected for Team Melli, the Minister of Sports said “During the past few days, there have been two schools of thought about the use of Iranian or foreign coaches, all of these are being analyzed, and a final decision taken by two committees of the FFIRI technical committee and the board of directors. The chairman will review these views and finally come today to make the final decision in our meeting”.

Sajjadi never explained why the appointment of Team Melli head coach must be decided with the presence of the government who always claims that they are not interfering in the FFIRI. The reality is that beyond any doubt much if not all major decisions in football in Iran are influenced by the government who are even not intelligent enough to disguise the fact.

This meeting announcement by Sajjadi is the biggest proof that the Ministry of Sporty is directly interfering with football, despite their repeated denials.

Dragan Skočić continues as normal pending executive decision..

The status of the Team Melli coaching is still unclear as there was no executive decision issued on the sacking of the incumbent Dragan Skočić.

On Monday, the technical committee of the Football Federation, which is an advisory body,  met and called for the dismissal of Dragan Skočić as the head coach of the Iran national team. This decision, however, was not officially approved by the Board of the Football Federation. Majedi and the rest of the board members held a meeting with Skocic on Tuesday, and at the conclusion of this meeting, there was no decision made on the dismissal or continuance of Skocic’s work, as it was decided that this decision would be taken at the following meeting.

This issue even aggravated the differences between the technical committee and the board of directors. Skočić finally left Iran after presenting his case to the FFIRI Board of Directors, however, on his return to Europe, he had a meeting with a member of Team Melli.

A video of Skocic’s presence in Austria has been released, in which team Melli’s coach is discussing with Shahab Zahedi, the forward of the Hungarian club, Puskas Academy Zahedi, who was playing in Ukraine before the war, has joined the Hungarian team recently. The team has set up its pre-season camp in Austria.

Besides Zahedi, Skočić also held talks with the head coach of the Puskas team on the side of the football field. Zahedi was invited to Team Melli by Skocic for the first time.

As such. It seems that Skočić will continue to work as normal pending some decision by the FFIRI management.

for the time being until his assignment is officially determined by the federation.

Ali Daei turns down Team Melli head coach post for the umpteen time.

After the drama of sacking Dragan Skocic and the theatrics of the FFIRI management, Ali Daei once again categorically refused to head coach Team Melli under current management and the shabby situation of the team.

Ali Daei, Javad Nekounam, and Amir Ghalenoui are the front runners to replace the sacked Team Melli coach to lead the team in difficult conditions in the 2022 World Cup, Among the candidates, Ali Daei was identified as the most suitable option.

However, the former head coach of Team Melli, who has been giving negative answers to all domestic and foreign offers for several years, was once again approached by the Football Federation, and once again he turned it down with an emphatic “No”.
One of the football federation officials confirmed Daei’s refusal in a conversation with Mehr reporter. “Daei has not agreed to replace Skocic in the current situation and has asked the officials of the football federation to consider this issue as finished and not to think about his presence on the bench of the national team.” Therefore, Ali Daei’s presence as the head coach of Iran’s national team in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is ruled out, and the football federation must look at its other internal options.

Daei seems to have learned his lesson and was wise enough to distance himself from this management and federation. The situation for Team Melli is critical and the chance of making a challenge for the two top spots in the group against the likes of England, Wales, and USA is becoming even more difficult now than before.

Daei knows very well that the lack of resources and leadership in Iran’s football plus the political interference from the government will make his task nearly impossible. The strong character of Daei and his fearless no-nonsense attitude will be impossible for the FFIRI and the government too.

Despite the pressure from a number of Team Melli players, the Ministry of Sports, and several members of parliament to reinstate Carlos Queiroz, the Football Federation strongly opposed his return to the bench of Team Melli. So that the head coach of the Iranian national team in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups has little chance to score a hat trick with minimal effort and lead Iran for the third time running in 2022.
The results of the Iranian national volleyball team with Behrouz Atai, the Iranian head coach of this team, caused the football federation to consider and maneuver the proposal of an Iranian coach who has the ability to gather the chaotic atmosphere the Team created by two partizan groups of players. The poor preparation and lack of international preparation matches on FIFA day, also frustrated many players as discontent is rife.

It seems that Mirshad Majdi, after consulting with some FFIRI Board Members has opted for a domestic option. Ghalenoui, like Daei, is also wise enough and cannot seriously entertain the idea of coaching Team Melli.

Javad Nekounam is the only other option. He lacks experience at the international level and has only been a coach for a few years. Despite the risks, it is believed that he will very well accept the challenge and hope for the best. The risk, however, is that a bad performance by Team Melli in Qatar or failure to qualify for the next round will ruin his reputiation career in coaching far too early in his career. He will also be the subject of the wrath of the fans.

Team Melli instability continues to raise concerns.

The countdown to the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has reached 134. While all the teams in the most important football tournament in the world have prepared their plans with the necessary support, resources, and detailed requirement in order to get the best performance tout of their teams, the case in Iran is quite different.

Team Melli is facing many challenges and struggling despite the fact that they qualified early and with many matches to spare. The crisis began after the dismissal of the Head of the federation, it is now embroiled in rumors of the impending dismissal of Dragan Skocic from his post as head coach of the national team.

“Behind the scenes, the intervention of people outside the football federation to bring about change has put undue pressure on the federation. Controversially several players of Team Melli are playing significant roles to push for change. Mirshad Majedi, the acting head of the Football Federation, entered the fray after seeing the two parties that had arisen among Team Melli players in stories supporting or criticizing Dragan Skocic, to end the matter for good by contacting them directly.
Majedi conveyed his displeasure about the behavior of the players to the senior members of the Iranian national team. He, who was surprised by the arrival of several new players in the recent camp of the team, postponed dealing with them to another time to show that he has decided to talk to the main players of the squad and calm the created atmosphere.

Among the strong supporters of Skocic, Azamoun and Taremi have been the most vocal. In an act of sedation, some new players, led by provocateurs are supporting the other side. The partisan is also clearly felt in the media which are taking sides, instead of encouraging stability and accepting the Croat.

The efforts of Majedi to change the atmosphere team’s dressing room have been counteracted by secret meetings in the corridors of the Ministry of Sports. Majedi, who no longer categorically dismisses Dragan Skocic’s departure, is now struggling with all kinds of demands to replace the Croatian head coach. The catalyst of these demands comes from the Ministry which has a long history of interference behind the scenes and applying all sorts of pressures to the extent of threats to get to their demands. In public, however, The Ministry always manitains the official policy of non-interference in FFIRI affairs and respect for the federation as an independent entity.

Some patrons of Carlos Queiroz have secretly held meetings with the officials of the Ministry of Sports during Majedi’s tenure as acting head and demanded the return of the Portuguese. Meetings that were supported and perhaps attended by several representatives of the Islamic Council (the Parliament) who demanded the explicit intervention of Hamid Sajjadi, the Minister of Sports in the affairs of the FFIRI. However, Sajjadi, aware of FIFA’s sensitivity to the subject and Iran being very close to being sanctioned because of several issues, including females attendance in stadiums, has announced that he will not get directly involved in the story, but an old Queiroz advocate who is closely related to Sajjadi has given strong indications of the return of the Portuguese man creating an atmosphere of insecurity and agitation.

 Will Skocic achieve his dream of sitting on the bench of the national team in the World Cup? Will Queiroz becomes the head coach of Team Melli due to external pressures? Will an Iranian option leads the national team? You have to wait a few more days to get answers to these questions

Payment fo the local coaches of Team Melli are still on hold!

Dragan Skočić has arranged the Training camp program in preparation for Team Melli games, but the task of his Iranian assistants and their involvement in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is still unclear. Karim Bagheri and Vahid Hashemian were the assistant coaches of Iran on the way to the World Cup, along with Mehrdad Khanban who is the team analyst. Apparently, the Football Federation has not yet been able to pay the full salaries of the national team’s local coaches, which resulted in a protest by Bagheri and Hashemian.

After the draw for the World Cup in Qatar, Skocic’s Iranian assistants asked for their bonuses and payment as per the contract, but the Football Federation’s response to this legitimate request was even stranger than before. The FFIRI declared lack of money as the main reason for the non-payment of its obligation to the local technical staff of Team Melli and stated that it will not be able to pay these amounts until the funds awed to Iran are credited to the federation by FIFA .

The financial resources of FFIRI are limited and the bank account is just about empty as FIFA is still withholding Iran’s dues from the qualification matches, despite the fact that the team reached the Qatar World Cup early. The most concerning issue is also the failure of FFIRI has still failed to sign contracts for friendly games with the world’s most prestigious football teams. It seems that the priority for Mirshad Majedi, the acting head of FFIRI and members of the board of directors, is still to hold a general assembly of the federation to determine the fate of Shahabuddin Azizi Khadem, the deposed head while Team Melli is still not a top priority despite the promises.

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