TEHRAN (Iran News) – Everyone involved in the Iranian football – clubs, players, managers, and, fans – are waiting for a decisive announcement as to what the future holds for the Persian Gulf Pro League and lower-tier leagues.
All sporting events and competitions worldwide have been on a standstill since mid-February due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Iranian sport has been no exception.
The last rounds of games in the Pro League were held on February 28 before the last second-division matchday was played three days later, meaning it’s been more than 70 days since a ball was kicked in the Iranian domestic leagues.
Mohammad-Mehdi Nabi, the secretary-general of Iran Football Federation said on May 8 that the world football governing body, FIFA, and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have given authority to state members to decide on when to resume action in the leagues.
With the destiny of the champion, AFC Champions League (ACL) spots, and the relegated sides hanging in the balance, all teams are waiting for the directives by the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting Coronavirus and, accordingly, the federation’s league organization to set a date for the restart of football.
However, there have been mixed views on whether to play the rest of the season.
Persepolis, sitting atop the league with a 10-point lead over Sepahan and Tractor, will be most desperate to get back in the action, as, with nine games to spare, the Tehran Reds are in the driving seat to claim a record-fourth consecutive league title.
As far as the AFC Champions League is concerned, eight teams will be fancying their chances to secure a spot in next year’s competition.
Three places are at stakes in the league while the domestic cup champion will also be given an ACL berth.
Five sides – Persepolis, Tractor, Naft Masjed Soleyman, Sepahan, and Esteghlal – are still in the mix to win the cup, while in the league, Sepahan, Tractor, Esteghlal, Shahr Khodro, Foolad, San’at Naft, and Naft Masjed Soleyman will be battling for the second to fourth places in the table.
In the bottom half, meanwhile, Peykan, Shahin Boushehr, Saipa, Gol Gohar, Pars Jonoubi, Zob Ahan, Nassaji Mazandaran, and Mashin Sazi could still finish in the bottom two and be relegated.
Overall 77 games will have to be played – 73 in the league and four in the cup, including a quarterfinal between Esteghlal and Sepahan – to decide the outcome of this season.
Should the officials give the go-ahead for the resumption of action, everyone involved will have to be ready for a hectic fixtures list.
IRNA contributed to this report.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews