By Farrokh Hesabi

Ali Karimi can make a difference in football: expert

January 11, 2021 - 11:56

TEHRAN - Iran football expert Amir Hajrezaei supports Ali Karimi's candidacy for the presidency of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) and sees it as a message to those who have damaged the country’s football over the last decade.

The legend of Iran football and Persepolis club has officially submitted his bid to become president of the FFIRI.

In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, Hajrezaei talked about Karimi’s challenge for Iranian football's top job.

“Honestly speaking, Ali Karimi and the ones who have been introduced by him as his vice-presidents, will not likely make the “fundamental changes” but they can make difference. I am not even sure who will win the election.

“However, I support his candidacy for the presidency of the FFIRI and consider it as a message from football society to those who have done nothing and also harmed the Iranian football over the past 10 or 15 years. The football community will use Karimi as a symbol and his voice should be heard by those who have led football for years. The Iranian football fans have made request for transition and Karimi and his group, who among them is the legendary Mehdi Mahdavikia, can make it happen,” Said Hajrezaei, one of the country's most respected Iranian football analysts.

The election for the presidency of the Iranian football federation will be held on Feb.28. The federation is currently heading by Heydar Baharvand after Mehdi Taj announced his retirement.

“It has always been said that football must be separated from politics, but Politics often manifests itself through football, and it has often been used as political propaganda. Even we can see that FIFA, as the international governing body of football, makes decisions based on political considerations.

“I hope that Karimi’s candidacy will not be invalidated or rejected in the process of vetting the candidates. Karimi has already secured support from football figures and fans. As I said, this is a clear protest by the football community against those who have never lived with football and have never loved football but have chaired our football governing body. Even if Karimi is not elected, some of the current people still must be removed from the football federation,” he concluded.

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