By Farrokh Hesabi

Is there any gambling in Iran volleyball?

January 24, 2021 - 15:14

TEHRAN - Iranian volleyball coaches and players are concerned with rumors about betting and match-fixing in the country’s volleyball.

The subject of match-fixing through the betting system came under scrutiny last month when Sasan Khodaparast, ex-coach of Azar Battery, raised the issue of betting in the volleyball.

“Gambling could be damaging for our volleyball. It’s two or three years that the results of some games have been really surprising. These incidents have raised suspicion about gambling in this sport and we, who are working in volleyball, understand it,” Khodaparast said before retiring from his post. His remarks provoked different reactions. Some did not deny the existence of betting in volleyball but believed that there were no credible documents to prove it.

Tehran Times spoke to some Iranian volleyball figures to find out how they see the situation and what they suggest to prevent further problems in this regard.

Ahsanollah Shirkavand, former player of Iran men’s national volleyball team and current captain of the Shahrdari Varamin Volleyball Club believes that betting is a problem in volleyball.

“We cannot deny that there is kind of betting and gambling in our volleyball, especially in the lower leagues. I’m sure that in the Iranian Super League the betting problems are so small, if any. This is due to the level and positions of the players and coaches who work in the super league, as well as the sensitivities and supervisions that exist in this league,” Shirkavand said to Tehran Times.

“Betting in football and some other sports may be far more widespread than volleyball. I believe that even in our volleyball’s lower leagues there is not an organized system of betting and it is still limited to sporadic cases. However, we must start the necessary measures now to prevent its further spread.  It is really unfair and treacherous that someone, who can be a player, a coach, or a referee, to bet and ruin the efforts of the other players and staff of a team,” added the 39-year-old volleyball star.

Mohammadreza Tondravan, head coach of the Foolad Sirajan team, told Tehran Times that he has just heard about betting in volleyball and not seen anything obvious.

“I cannot say with certainty that there is betting in Iranian volleyball because I only have heard about it and have not seen or experienced it personally. However, it is a completely serious issue that should be taken into consideration by the Iranian Volleyball Federation and even the country’s security and intelligence official to prevent damage to the reputation of our volleyball,” said the former Qatari’s Al Arabi head coach.

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