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The Football and TV dispute

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IranMania- The dispute regarding football and Seda-va-Sima (IRIB) is gradually entering a new phase. The fact that Professional League matches, except those of Esteghlal and Perspolis, are being boycotted by the Iranian TV network and the nonpayment of the broadcasting rights fees for matches by IRIB, has led the upset club managers to make a number of controversial decisions.

General (Sardar) Ajorloo, the Pas club chairman, spoke in this regard, "If this situation continues, we may even be forced to pull out of the league." He also concluded that the refusal of IRIB to broadcast the games is the reason for the loss of club sponsors and a base for financial loss of the League teams.

General (Sardar) Mohammadi, the Fajr Sepassi Chairman, is of the same opinion, "Why do they pay money for the foreign games to broadcast them live? We even see beer advertising around their pitches too. But here the local teams are banned."

The most important debate and worry for the football Union is the subject of game broadcasts and broadcasting rights fees. Sadegh Droodgar, the Commercial Deputy of the Football Union believes that IRIB earns around 2000 mil. Tomans ($ 2.5 mil.) for the teasers between the games and not even a penny of this is paid to the teams. It also seems that the football Union members do not reach consensus on other topics with the exception of  this one.

They have even gone so far as to say, "If apart from Perspolis and Esteghlal no other teams are shown on TV, we request that these teams are also taken off the air."

Seda-va-Sima refuses to pay broadcasting rights fees to football teams but at the same time comfortably pays up to 180,000 Tomans/minute ($225/minute) for the making of popular soaps. The stubborn refusal of IRIB to air the minor games of the League leads to sponsor losses and loss of income from pitch side advertisement.
On Wednesday, the 19th of December 2001, there was a football Union meeting in the morning and in the same afternoon, another meeting took place composed of the Professional League chairmen and the officials of the League Organization in which the most important topic discussed was the attitude of IRIB to various clubs.

The chairmen of Pas, Esteghlal, Perspolis, Zob Ahan, Foolad and Fajr Sepassi all took part in the meeting and represented the other absent clubs also. It was decided at this meeting that, the mentioned group will be responsible for the appraisal of the problem and implementation of the best solution to solve it. According to the latest news, the 6 representatives must make a speedy and viable decision after technical discussions, seeking advice and counsel at a political and social level and talks with the IRIB officials.

One of the League Organization officials announced that the live broadcast of some games was the decision of the country's various Security officials. Another official said, "The actions taken by the league is our own business and if Seda-va-Sima does not find a solution soon, we won't allow the Perspolis and Esteghlal games to be shown either."

The next action taken by IRIB could lead them to a crisis. The barring of football game broadcasts on TV will surely lead to a clash of Public opinion v IRIB. The crisis could be avoided if as a league official put it, 'Iran's Security officials step in and make a firm decision for all parties involved.'

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