Full name Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Football Club
Nickname(s) طوفان زرد آسیا
طلایی پوشان اصفهان
Ground Naghsh-e-Jahan Stadium
Iran & Foolad Shahr Stadium
Chairman Mohammad Reza Saket
Coach Hossein Charkhabi
Sepahan (Persian: باشگاه فوتبال فولاد مبارکه ی سپاهان اصفهان) is an Iranian football club based in Esfahan, Iran. They compete in the Iran Pro League and became IPL Champions in the 2002-03 season, the first league champion outside of Tehran.
Sepahan Football Club is the football division of Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Sport Club and is owned by steel company Mobarakeh Steel Co.. Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan also has a successful handball team, the current champions of the Iranian Handball League and the Silver Medalists at the 2004 Asian Club League Championships.
Sepahan also operates a reserve football team Foolad Sepahan Novin, currently competing in the Azadegan League.
In 1944, with the help of Mahmoud Hariri, the Shahin Esfahan club was created. This club was one of teams attached to the more popular and successful Shahin F.C. of Tehran. In 1967 due to the problems that arose in the Shahin F.C. organization in Tehran, the Esfahan branch was forced to cease operations. The club changed its name to Sepahan. The club played in the local Esfahan leagues for many years until 1993. That year the club was purchased by the Siman (cement) factory of Esfahan. It participated in the Azadegan League until the year 2000, when Foolad Mobarekeh (Steel Mill of Mobarekeh Esfahan) bought the team from the Siman factory. The team now plays under the name of Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan, and enjoys very good support by the club board, and has been able to attain a respectable fan base in its hometown.
First IPL title
The club was able to demonstrate its worth when it captured the league title in the 2002-2003 season of the IPL, and qualified for the AFC Champions League tournament. It also won the Hazfi Cup in 2004 and was able to qualify for another season of the ACL competition, though the club did not have much success in the continental tournaments of ACL 2004 and 2005.
First Club World Cup appearance
With Luka Bonačić, Sepahan was able to once again win the Hazfi Cup on September 22, 2006. With this win, they gained Iran's final and second spot in the AFC Champions League 2007. They were impressive in continental stage as they finished top of their group and defeated Kawasaki Frontale of Japan and Al Wahda of the UAE to reach the final of the newly established continental tournament for the first time. Although they lost the final to Urawa Red Diamonds on aggregate, by reaching the final, Sepahan became the first Iranian club to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.
In the opening match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2007, Sepahan defeated Waitakere United of New Zealand to reach the quarterfinal where they met Urawa Red Diamonds for a spot in the semifinal match against AC Milan. Urawa Reds managed to defeat Sepahan for the second time in just one month, reaching the semifinals of the FIFA Club World Cup.
By winning the Hazfi Cup once again in 2007, Sepahan also qualified for the AFC Champions League 2008, but could not repeat their success of 2007.
IPL 2007/08 and ACL 2009
Sepahan has qualified for the AFC Champions League for the third consecutive time in 2009, coming as the Runners-up in Persian Gulf Cup 2007-08. Sepahan lost the title by only one point to Persepolis F.C., who beat them 2-1 in the last match of the season.
Sepahan is also one of the few clubs in Iranian football to have a senior reserve team, Foolad Sepahan Novin F.C., that as of the 2007/08 season, participates in Iran's Azadegan League and the Hazfi Cup.