By Farrokh Hesabi

Legal expert Vakil accuses Iranian clubs of negligence

December 25, 2021 - 19:9

TEHRAN – Persepolis, Esteghlal and Gol Gohar football teams are on the verge of being banned from the 2021-2022 AFC Champions League. Amir Saed Vakil, an Iranian sports legal expert, accused the clubs of negligence.

The Iranian giants have failed to meet the criteria to obtain the club licensing required to enter the AFC Champions League competition. The license is given after a club meet criteria in five sections – Sporting, Infrastructure, Personnel, and Administrative, Legal and Financial.

So many Iranian media and news agencies have recently reported that Persepolis, Esteghlal and Gol Gohar have been removed from the prestigious tournament by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). At that time, the football federation's official stated that the AFC had granted the licenses to Esteghlal, Persepolis and Gol Gohar clubs on a conditional and three-month basis and had ordered the clubs to resolve other remaining issues during this period.

However, last Thursday, it was reported that both clubs were certainly removed from the current season of the Champions League.

Th final deadline for resolving the remaining problems regarding the club licensing is on Monday.

Vakil believes that the mismanagement was the main factor that led to such a crisis for Iranian football.

“There are two main reasons why this happened to the Iranian clubs,” Vakil told Tehran Times. “First, mismanagement in both Esteghlal and Persepolis clubs since they were not able to solve the previously mentioned problems. Second, the mismanagement of the federation's club licensing committee officials that have done unprofessional interviews about such an important, sensitive and confidential issue.

“AFC has repeatedly challenged the ‘joint ownership’ of the two Iranian clubs by the Ministry of Sports and Youth. Moreover, financial debts and tax issues have been another challenging issue for the Iranian clubs in recent years,” the Iranian expert added.

If true, it would be devastating news for Iranian football. Esteghlal and Persepolis are among the strongest clubs to have taken part in Asian club competitions. Esteghlal have won the Asian championship two times, and Persepolis have reached the final twice in 2018 and 2020.

“Speaking about three-month and conditional opportunity to meet the criteria was another unprofessional behavior by the club officials and the managers of the club licensing committee. I think they did it mostly to manage public opinion when in practice it was not truth at all,” concluded Amir Saed Vakil.

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