December 5, 2021

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Iranian clubs in danger of ACL elimination

Iranian clubs in danger of ACL elimination – Tehran Times

TEHRAN – Iranian clubs, Persepolis, Esteghlal, Sephahn, and Foolad, could meet the criteria to obtain the club licensing required to enter the AFC Champions League competitions.

In recent days, Persepolis and Esteghlal were rumored to be eliminated from the new season of the AFC Champions League by the Asian Football Confederation because of their failure to get the AFC Club licensing.

There was a concern for both Iranian clubs and their fans if there was enough time to meet the condition required to procure the necessary license.

There have been several occasions where clubs who have qualified for the continental competitions fail to participate in those tournaments. This happens when the clubs fail to meet the obligatory conditions to obtain a license that allows them to participate in games such as the AFC Champions League.

Contrary to some media reports, the deadline for submitting documents to the Asian Football Confederation was the end of Sunday. Esteghlal and Persepolis clubs submitted their papers on time and got the license.

The license is given after a club meets criteria in five sections – Sporting, Infrastructure, Personnel and Administrative, Legal and Financial.

The sporting criteria mainly consist of requirements (Category A) that pertain to the development of football.  The club has to have youth squads that are affiliated with recognized competitions.

The infrastructure criteria deal with Stadium and Training Facilities. The personnel and administrative criteria list all the necessary staff required by a club to satisfy the regulations put forth by AFC for its competitions.

The legal criteria cover all necessary documentation that needs to be submitted to participate in the tournaments.  The club’s ownership framework and control mechanism should also be declared, with each participant’s role and stake at the club explained clearly.

It seems that the financial criteria have been the most challenging one for the Iranian clubs in recent years. Due to economic sanctions against Iran, the country’s clubs have many problems with transferring money to fulfill some of their financial commitments toward their foreign players and staff.

The problem of obtaining the AFC Club License for Iranian clubs was solved with the help of the football federation and the Ministry of Sports. However, a source close to the Iranian football federation said to Tehran Times that “the AFC granted the licenses to Esteghlal and Persepolis clubs on a conditional and three-month basis. They must resolve other remaining issues during this period”.

It seems that the complete elimination of this problem for Iranian teams requires fundamental steps toward providing professional football infrastructures in the coming years.

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