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Corruption in football more terrible than coronavirus: analyst

Amir Haj Rezaei

Tehran Times - Amir Haj Rezaei, one of the country's most respected football analysts, believes that the coronavirus crisis has taught people a lot of lessons about life.

In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, Haj Rezaei said: "I prefer to talk about myself rather than other people or the world. Throughout my life, my hobbies have been football, book, and movie. These quarantine days has given me a unique opportunity to entertain myself with two sides of this triangle, and I miss the third side, which is football.”

"One thing is for certain: we all miss something or someone. Covid-19 has taught us that we may suddenly lose our normal life and become isolated. Coronavirus pandemic reminded me that football is deeply intertwined with my life, and with its absence, I have somehow become ill. It is a fact, and all over the world, those who have lived their lives with football are suffering from lack of their favorite sport," he added.

Haj Rezaei (born 4 September 1946) is an Iranian football manager, expert, commentator, and former professional player. He started his career in Kian of Tehran and played in teams such as Rah Ahan, Bargh Tehran and, Machine Sazi Tabriz.

Asked about the prospect of the Iranian football in the forthcoming month, after coronavirus crisis, Haj Rezaei said that the prospects are quite dim: “the amount of money the Iranian clubs are wasting, is worse than coronavirus.

"I always don’t care about the news. There is a lot of talk about this football, especially about financial issues. Corruption in football is more terrible than coronavirus. Despite the increase in deaths and devastating economic losses, the virus will eventually be eliminated with medication and treatment, but the corruption, which has defiled our football, will be difficult to eradicate. To me, football is like the bitter medicine that a doctor prescribes, and I have to use it for my health because I love football." he said.

Speaking about the Iranian Football Federation, he referred to the postponed elections of the federation: "When I read the list of people who were nominated for different positions in the federation, including the presidency, I have completely lost my hope. Football is a great sport and it needs great people. It does not mean that there should be ones with only higher education, but the people in football must have inherent qualities such as courage, as well as financial and moral health."

Referring to the public discussions about the continuation of the Iran Professional League (IPL), the former assistant coach of the Iranian national team said: "It's impossible to declare the champions with an incomplete league, and it's also impossible to end the season. Saying such things is both tragic and comic. In England, despite Liverpool's huge differences with other teams, they have agreed that the title must be determined on the pitch.

"My opinion is that with improvement and positive evolution in the situation related to coronavirus, competitions should be resumed with special strategies such as playing games behind the closed doors," he concluded.

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