Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Fans should return to stadiums: Zohreh Haratian

October 29, 2021 - 18:11

TEHRAN – Dr. Zohreh Haratian believes that the fans should return to the stadiums but the stadiums require the infrastructure that must be provided.

As influential as she can be in raising attention on certain issues regarding Iranian women, Haratian, a hard-working female physician, is now one of those who paved the way for women in the sports industry, specifically in the sports medicine field.

Having been appointed as the medical officer of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup, Haratian will attend another big event after experiencing several FIFA and AFC big tournaments in recent years as a medical and doping officer.

She talked about the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup held in Lithuania last month.

“It was important for me to be involved in the Men's Futsal World Cup because I have been passionate about futsal since I was an ex-futsal player. Now I'm the first Iranian woman who has attended the final of a World Cup tournament as a medical staff,” Haratian said to Tehran Times.

Speaking about the Futsal World Cup condition in terms of fans' attendance, Haratian explained: “Supporters were allowed to attend the matches in stadiums.  FIFA agreed with the crowd returning to stadiums. However, for every tournament, it must be decided by the organizers such as FIFA and the AFC and the host country's authorities. For example, regarding the AFC Women's Asian Cup in India, it is still unclear whether the crowd are allowed to attend or not.”

As the head of Iran football Medical Assessment and Rehabilitation Center (IFMARC), approved by FIFA as FIFA Medical Center of excellence since 2015, Haratian talked about the possibility of crowd attendance in Iran Professional League (IPL) matches.

“We are waiting for Iran's National Anti-Corona Headquarters to permit in this regard. It is not a decision we make alone about the presence of the people in the communities such as football venues,” she said.

“More than 90 percent of the Iranian football players have received one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and about 50 percent are fully vaccinated. We have presented these data to the football federation and the Ministry of Sport. Accordingly, we have submitted our offer so that football venues will be permitted to welcome crowds not with full capacity for the first time in the country since the spreading of Coronavirus,” said the 43-year-old doctor.

“Certainly, the return of fans to the stadiums requires the infrastructure that must be provided. We will do our best in this regard because I believe that football is a dead sport without spectators,” Haratian concluded.

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