June 23, 2024

Iran football league rocked by major corruption scandal [Report]

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Tehran Times – TEHRAN, The Iranian football scene has been rocked by a major corruption scandal in recent weeks, with allegations of bribery, match-fixing, and manipulation of fixtures casting a dark shadow over the sport.

The scandal first came to light in early May when reports emerged of a corruption investigation involving the football federation’s officials and media figures. The allegations centered on “bribery,” “document forgery,” “match-fixing,” and “fixture manipulation,” sending shockwaves through the Iranian football community.

As speculation mounted about the individuals and clubs involved, the judiciary of Kerman Province, where the investigation is centered, confirmed the existence of the case and announced that those implicated had been summoned for questioning. Unofficial sources named two senior football officials, Khodadad Afsharian, head of the Referees Committee and Soheil Mehdi, head League Organization’s Competitions Committee, as well as a prominent media personality, as being among those involved. The scandal was also linked to a top-flight club in Kerman Province.

*Resignations and ongoing investigations

In the wake of the unfolding scandal, both Afsharian and Mehdi stepped down from their positions within the Iranian football federation as the federation’s website announced the appointment of Daniel Moradi as temporary head of the Referees Committee and Mohammadreza Keshvarifard as the acting head of the Organization’s Competitions Committee.

The football federation has maintained that the corruption case dates back to 2021 or earlier.

*Challenges ahead: cleansing football and restoring trust

The Iranian football federation now faces two major challenges: thoroughly investigating and addressing the corruption within its ranks and restoring public trust in the sport. The use of terms like “Calciopoli,” the infamous Italian football corruption scandal, in reference to the current situation highlights the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for decisive action.

The federation must undertake a comprehensive cleansing process, removing corrupt individuals and implementing robust anti-corruption measures. It must also demonstrate transparency and cooperation with the ongoing investigations, keeping the public informed about progress and outcomes.

Only through decisive action, transparency, and a genuine commitment to ethical practices can Iranian football begin to heal from this scandal and regain the trust of its fans and stakeholders. The road ahead is challenging, but the future of Iranian football depends on the federation’s ability to rise to the occasion.