By Farrokh Hesabi

Foolad GM Azari clarifies recent controversies

February 3, 2021 - 18:28

TEHRAN - Saeid Azari, General Manager of Iranian football club Foolad, says that the club had done nothing out of standard measurements in the game against Peykan, however, he apologized for the inconvenience caused before the match.

Last Friday, before the Iran Professional League (IPL) match in southern city Ahwaz, Foolad extended the width of their field to allegedly prevent somersault throw of one of the Paykan player.

Foolad club had been also accused of turning the touchline slippery to prevent Nader Mohammadi to throw the long ball. Although the Match Commissioner didn’t let the match start until the stadium workers redrew the lines. After the match, Azari apologized for the incident.

“We did nothing against the football laws or international football standards,” Saeid Azari said in an exclusive interview with Tehran Times.

“According to IFAB Laws of the Game, the length of the field of play for international matches are minimum 64 meters and maximum 75 meters. We extended the width of Foolad Arena to 72 meters, so it is still less than the maximum standard width. So it was, and it is, our legal right to extend our field but it should not have happened in our domestic match, but in our AFC Champions’ League playoff match against UAE’s Al-Ain, we will use this legal right. Of course, it will be with the permission of the Asian Football Confederation,” Azari added.

“However, regarding what happened in the touchline that made it slippery I apologized and I believe that it was due to lack of coordination in our club,” Foolad General Manager stated.

Azari also talked about the Iranian football federation’s presidential elections which set to be held on Feb. 28.

“I personally decided to step aside from the football federation election but I follow the news of the election. As I was informed, the federation has invalidated the candidacy of some of the nominees for different positions, however, I don’t know why the federation has not announced the name of disqualified people. I was really shocked that the legend Mehdi Mahdavikia was also disqualified and only his name was announced among the removed ones!

“Despite all this, based on the information I have received and the conversations I have had with reliable sources, I am optimistic that the football federation’s General Assembly will make a wise choice on Feb. 28. I hope that really good things happen for Iranian football,” Azari concluded.

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