Ten Things For Iran To Do In 2007 …. and still in 2010!
On the occasion of the Persian New Year, I was going to write a short article and list my 10 wishes that, if materialized, would improve the game in Iran. Then I ran into a copy of an old article that I had written in 2007 on my now defunct football website. Surprisingly, and saddly I might add, my list was still pretty relevant, so I decided to just recycle the old article instead of writing a new one. I think with the exception of #1, all the others still resonate true for our football.
Ten Things For Iran To Do In 2007
The New Year is already underway and there will be a lot happening in Asian football. There are the AFC U16, U19, and Beijing Olympics qualifiers at youth level. Then there is the AFC Champions League which will showcase best clubs in the continent, and then there is the biggest Asian prize of them all, the Asian Cup.
I am not going to go through the dreadfully painful practice of explaining how we do not have a coaching staff in place for our youth teams, or how our league champions Esteghlal of Tehran are committing self-mutilation in their front office, the club house, and on the pitch.
No, in the spirit of the New Year, I am going to avoid negativity and look at things from a positive and practical angel. So with that in mind, here are my top ten steps that if taken could make 2007 a good year for Iranian football:
10) Improve stadiums and pitches – Amongst the top 5 Asian football powers Iran has undoubtedly the worst pitches. If surveyed Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Australia’s top leagues will come ahead of Iran in number of topnotch stadiums.
Tehran’s Azadi and a couple of other stadiums aside, the rest of Iranian stadiums can hardly host an Asian Champions League match. Fortunately, Iran’s 2007 representatives in Asia are Esteghlal who play in Azadi, and Sepahan whose Naghsheh Jahan stadium needs minor repairs to the pitch in order to get approved by the AFC.
9) Start serious moves towards professionalism – The Iranian Professional League (IPL) is professional in name only. Most IPL clubs are sponsored by state owned industries. So in affect they are all directly or indirectly financed by the government and none of them can financially support themselves.
8 ) Start showing more club games on TV – Only Esteghlal and Perspolis of Tehran get their games broadcasted on the government sponsored national TV. The others get coverage only when they play one of these two teams so the fans around the country rarely get to see and appreciate the talent outside of those playing for the two Tehran clubs.
7) Bring fans to the stands – Because of poor facilities and lousy atmosphere created by a rowdy and unruly minority, true fans stay away from stadiums. Most games are played in front of crowds of less than 10,000; and this in a “Football Mad” country.
6) Force the clubs to meet their financial commitments – Many clubs, especially Perspolis and Esteghlal, are notorious for not meeting their financial obligations. Many players and coaches do not get paid on time, if at all. This is mostly because there is no financial accountability at clubs’ front office, so they go on spending sprees that they are not likely to afford.
5) Take advantage of FIFA sponsored training – FIFA regularly sponsors training classes for everything in football. Iran should not only improve its training programs for coaches, but also improve its sports medicine and sports management training programs amongst many other things.
4) Improve refereeing – Iran has a few good referees who do well in Asian tournaments. Like most other Asian countries, its league matches are often scarred by horrible refereeing. Good refereeing is essential for having a healthy league.
3) Hire coaches for youth teams – Time is running out! The qualifiers for the youth tournaments mentioned at the beginning of this article are only weeks away, and the teams have no coaches!
2) Schedule decent friendly games for the senior team – The Asian Cup is in July of 2007. So the coaches have plenty of time to pick and choose their best 22 for this summer’s tournament. To do that, they need to carefully watch the league games, and try players during friendly matches.
1) Settle the case with FIFA – FIFA wants Iranian Football Federation to rewrite its bylaws, and reorganize its infrastructure to match FIFA standards and requirements or it will ban Iran until these issues are properly addressed. So IFF bigwigs must get working on FIFA demands or items 2 through 10 above will not matter much!
The last thing the alien Ayatollahs want is anything that encourages nationalism. Football does just that. Heck they really tried to stop Iran going to Olympics.
Posted from United Kingdom
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