By Farrokh Hesabi

Maybe not the best way to prevent Iranian clubs from signing foreigners

August 21, 2020 - 16:55

TEHRAN - The executive board of Iran Football League Organization on Wednesday announced that no Iranian team are permitted to sign a foreign coach and player for the next Iran Professional League (IPL) season, but it seems is not the best possible way.

Earlier, such a decision had been ratified only for two Tehran giants, Persepolis and Esteghlal, by the Iranian Ministry of Sport and Youth, the owner of the two clubs.

The reason was that both teams have had a lot of financial problems in recent years and could be banned from signing players for the next transfer windows by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee after failing to pay the salary of their former foreign coaches and players.

Now, however, all the IPL teams are required to follow the order made by the Iran Football League Organization.

The decision to ban the signing of foreign players and coaches is not taken to ensure a future for Iranian football, but, surprisingly, such a decision was made only to prevent further complaints against the Iranian football teams!

The FIFA Players’ Status verdict, which obliged the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) to pay more than six million euros to Marc Wilmots, the former national team coach, along with many complaints against the Iranian clubs by the overseas players and coaches, have brought the Iranian football authorities to the conclusion that a ban on foreign players and staff might be necessary at the current situation.

However, such a decision can decrease the excitement of the IPL matches and jeopardize the development of the Iranian teams due to closing doors to the good foreign coaches.

In Iran, a strong football coaching structure is missing. What we have now is certainly not good enough to produce top players and high-level teams.

In recent years a few foreign coaches, such as Branko Ivankovic, Carlos Queiroz, and Andrea Stramaccioni have had a great impact on the Iranian teams both in the club and national team level.

We need to bring in such foreign coaches who are able to prepare our teams at the highest level, keep them in the country for a certain number of years, and benefit from their knowledge.

On the other hand, the ban on signing foreign players causes an unreasonable increase in the price of domestic players and it will put more financial pressure on the Iranian clubs in the long run.

The best way to prevent financial complaints against the Iranian teams by foreigners is to develop a legal and codified framework for how to conclude contracts with them, rather than banning the clubs from signing overseas staff.

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