By Farrokh Hesabi

Ali Karimi considered as “glimmer of light” by Iranian football figures

January 5, 2021 - 14:29

TEHRAN - The legend of Iran football and Persepolis club, Ali Karimi, is ready to participate in the presidential elections of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIR).

Karimi announced on his Instagram page he is running to become president of Iran’s football federation, which its elections will be held on Feb.28.

“I want to be with my country’s people. I’ll run for the presidency of the football federation to make Iranian football proud once again. Fundamental changes have been made by FIFA and the AFC in the FFIRI’s statutes and now the ex-players can participate in the elections more easily. I hope that on Feb.28, our dear Iranian football will experience a day without collusion.”

FIFA demanded changes to the FFIRI statutes more than a year ago and rejected amended documents submitted on several occasions. Finally, it was in 2020 October that FIFA approved the football federation’s new statutes. Then the statutes were approved by the General Assembly of the FFIRI, and after that, the elections’ date was set by the assembly.

The new statutes give the green light to former footballers to contest at the football federation presidency elections. In contrast, in the previous version of the statutes, running for elections was only possible for those who had a managerial background.

Karimi, who has played for Bayern Munich and Schalke 04, is already supported by many football figures and fans and is considered as one of the hot favorites to win the presidential elections, with many regarding his candidacy as a chance for the revival of Iranian football.

Ali Karimi, 42, has met the requirements approved in the statutes. It is mentioned that four years of playing in national football, futsal, or beach soccer teams and four years of playing in professional football leagues are equivalent to four years of managerial background for former footballers.

Many people have considered Karimi’s decision (or any other footballer who will set to run for the FFIRI elections) as a glimmer of light at the end of what is still a long and quite dark tunnel in the fight against mismanagement in the Iranian football.

He should take the endorsements from assembly members, provincial football associations, football clubs, and players to be elected as the head of the Iran football federation. It is a good step in the right direction for the country’s football to have celebrated football figures in its governing body.

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