Iran is not a football superpower, but it has a long history of excellent players and a decent World Cup record. Unfortunately, the national league has been plagued with cheating accusations and scandals that threaten to ruin the reputation of Iranian soccer. It looks like many prominent stakeholders are gambling with the country’s most popular sport despite broader public protests.

Speaking of gambling, we have a side note to add: It’s much better doing it online in a regular casino setting. All it takes is to visit a fast payout casino to engage in a gambling session, with instant withdrawals being closer than ever. This is the right way to play casino games – on one of the best online casino websites instead of gambling with the entire country’s football reputation. But it is what it is, so let’s see what’s going on in Persian football these days.


Corruption accusations

These accusations come from none other than Ali Daei, a legend of Persian football who definitely has the authority to speak about the current conditions in the domestic league. The sad reality is that the former national team captain had to speak up about corruption in the middle of the Asian Cup, but the time is never right for speaking about such unfortunate events.

Daei talked about match fixing in Iran on multiple occasions, and he even accused one specific referee of being bribed to make decisions that go against Ali’s former team Persepolis. The worst thing is that such allegations don’t just come from Ali Daei.

On the contrary, we also read multiple reports about other prominent stakeholders in the national soccer association talking about match fixing and corruption. For example, Vahid Salehi talked about it on one of the national radio stations. He even mentioned phrases such as “football mafia” and “locker room deals” to describe the situation in the domestic soccer league.


A complaint against Iran to FIFA by Marc Wilmots

At the same time, another scandal is shaking the very foundations of the Iranian soccer organization. A former manager of the national team Marc Wilmots sued the association for not paying him as agreed. Here’s a quick background story:

-        Wilmots was appointed the head of Iranian national team in 2019

-        He stayed there for six months only due to salary-related disputes

-        FIFA conducted an investigation and ordered Iranian football officials to pay Marc as agreed

As it turns out, Iran hired Wilmots for a much higher sum than presented by the national association’s officials. The three-year contract was actually worth over $7 million, so Wilmots sued Iran and won the case. To make things worse, the court also ordered the state of Iran to pay an additional $4 million on behalf of procedural compensations.

A canceled soccer match between the Iranian Sepahan soccer team and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad

We’re not done with the scandals yet. During the year 2023, the Saudi soccer team, al-Ittihad, made the decision to withdraw from a scheduled match against the Iranian Sepahan soccer club. This choice was prompted by the appearance of a sculpture honoring the late Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, prominently showcased on the field.

Iranian officials refused to hide the symbols, prompting the Saudi team's withdrawal. The excuse was simple - the Soleimani bust has always been there ever since his assassination in 2020.

Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike four years ago. The local media outlets questioned whether the Saudi withdrawal aimed to align with Israel. Some of the state’s highest football officials thought that the match should go in Sepahan’s favor by default and suggested penalties for the Saudi team, asserting that they aren’t in a position to discuss any national hero-related symbols on the football field. Ultimately, the Asian Champions League penalized Sepahan and declared its official 3-0 loss against al-Ittihad.

Scandal from 2015: Eight of Iran's women's football team were claimed to be men who are awaiting sex swap operations

Last but not least, we have a gender-related scandal dating back to 2015. Multiple media outlets all over the Arab world reported about eight members of the national women’s team actually being men. As it turned out, all of them had been waiting for a sex change surgery but that didn’t stop them from playing for the ladies’ team nonetheless.

Scandals Jeopardize the Integrity of Persian Football

It’s hard to count all the scandals that shake the very foundations of Persian soccer. The country is obviously facing severe difficulties trying to regulate national competitions, while many insiders claim that the government is to blame for such a terrible situation in national football. In each case, it feels like Persia is in need of a deep restructuring of nearly all soccer-related elements. Unfortunately, no one knows whether this will ever take place in full capacity.