Tehran Times - Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) and Persepolis football club have lost their main buildings in Tehran due to the FFIR’s failure to clear debts related to former national team head coach Marc Wilmots contract.
The Belgian coach was appointed in May 2019 with a three-year contract to lead Iran in their quest for a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance but left his position just after six matches in charge due to what he called ‘serious contractual violations by the Iranian Football Federation.’
In November 2019, the Iran football federation, led by former president Mehdi Taj, decided to borrow €2 million from Iran’s Social Security Investment Company (SSIC, also known by its Persian acronym Shasta), Iran’s major state-owned investment company. The federation borrowed the money to pay part of Wilmot’s wage at that time.
In December 2020, the SSIC asked for the money to be taken back. Since the FFIRI was unable to pay the debt, the SSIC took necessary steps to seize the federation’s assets, including the building of the federation and the building of the Persepolis club, whose documents are legally in the name of the Iranian football federation.
The FFIRI initially denied the sequestration of its main estate in the northern region of Tehran at that time.
However, on Tuesday, Iranian media reported that the ownership documents of the FFIR’s building and half of the Persepolis club's building have legally been transferred to the name of the SSIC company.
The federation’s newly-elected directors have confirmed the issue on Wednesday. They criticized SSIC officials for seizing the FFIR’s assets for a debt that the former officials of the federation originally arouse.
Ebrahim Shakouri, executive director of Persepolis, also objected to the issue in a press conference.
“We have serious questions to ask from the FFIRI and Shasta in this regard. But what is certain is that we defend the rights of the Persepolis club and their millions of fans. The building legally belongs to Persepolis club, and we have not yet received any letter or order regarding the change of ownership of the club's building,” Shakouri said.
“The debt of the football federation to Shasta Company has nothing to do with Persepolis club, and we should not suffer any loss in this matter,” he added.