Exclusive Interview with Afshin Ahmadi: IPL Transfer Corruption
IranSportsPress.com: Afshin Ahmadi is among Iran's few FIFA-licensed players' agents. In an exclusive interview with Nima Baki, Afshin Ahmadi discusses challenges for IPL players' transfer to Europe and Transfer corruption in Iranian league.
Nima: Hi Afshin, as one of few Iranian FIFA players’ agent, how long have you worked as agent?
Afshin Ahmadi: Well, it has not been too long time since I have passed the exam, which was about four months ago. I used to work as a journalist before and would review the transfer news for some years and I wished that I could be an agent someday, until I saw IRIFF Ad in the websites about FIFA agent player Exam. I participated and passed the exam and became an official FIFA agent.
Nima : Is it right that you are the only FIFA agent in Khouzestan?
Afshin Ahmadi: Yes. Not only in Khouzestan province but also in all the provinces outside Tehran!
Nima: Why do you think very few Iranian players find their way to Europe?
Afshin Ahmadi : Well you know that going to Europe is very difficult for Asian players. The level of football in European leagues is very different from Asia, so it is very challenging for an Asian player to find his way into a good club in Europe. Also the European countries have some restrictions for Asian players; For instance, they want the Asian players to also play in their respective national team. However, the most important factor is the difference of football style between Asia and Europe, but we can work on non-European countries such as the middle eastern leagues first and then transfer the players from there to Europe. I think this is an easier way to go to Europe.
Nima: So in your opinion, its easier to go from Dubai to Europe, than it is from Iran to Europe?
Afshin Ahmadi: That is right. Consider players like Ali Karimi and Javad Nekoonam and Massood Shojaee. You notice that all of them went to good clubs in Spain and Germany through this route.
Nima: We all hear about big talents coming from Khouzestan, but lately there have not been as much talents discovered from Khouzestan as we all expected.
Afshin Ahmadi: That is right. You know that a talent becomes brilliant only when we invest on him and give him opportunity to showcase his talents.
At Khuzestan we have a lot of talents but it is a fact that we do not invest on them well. Some advanced countries especially in Europe and Middle Eastern leagues they invest so much on their talents to develop some good experienced players for future but we do not make any investment on these young players and expect them all to instantly play at our big clubs or national team!
Here it is the case that there are a lot of talented players in Khouzestan province but only a few of them can develop well and most of them are ruined. In the last couple of years we have produced some talented players like Iman Mobali, Hossein Kabi, Ali Badavi,etc to the Iranian National Team but these were only a few players that we could deliver to other teams.
Be sure that there are a lot of such players here in Khouzaestan Province. Currently we have a player like Milad Maydavoodi and he is the only player that we can work on him to transfer to Europe one day!
Nima : Are you Milad Meydavoudi's agent?
Afshin Ahmadi: No but his agent is a close friend of mine, he is a journalist too
Nima : Ok, Milad have all the attributes a club in Europe may need; His pace, physical strength and good ball control. Do you know of any interest shown in him from outside Asia?
Afshin Ahmadi: Yes of course, but consider that his contract with Esteghlal Ahvaz ends in 2010. And although the club needed him this season but UAE’s Al Ahli negotiated with Esteghlal Ahvaz about him and he will temporarily play for Al Ahli until end of the season. He currently plays both for Al Ahli also in Iran National team and he scores continuously for Al Ahli.
Nima : Do you want to name any European club that showed interest in him?
Afshin Ahmadi: Well I do not know the name of the clubs because as I am not his agent officially.
Nima: I talked with some European agents a while ago. They knew very much about the football in Iran, they knew the young players in Iran very well. One of the agents even said that he knew the Iranian talents in Iran more than the big clubs in Iran, so does most other European agents. Can you confirm this statement?
Afshin Ahmadi: Well, sometimes it is true but not in all cases. Some clubs have hired scouts to review the matches and select the best ones for their clubs. This is a good way to invest on young players and train them to get through the professional level later.
Nima : Lately some Iranian players have joined leagues such as Turkamnistan and Azerbajian. Do you know if the players that leave for these leagues are good players or they have hard time getting playing time in Iran?
Afshin Ahmadi: During these years some of the Iranian players have gone to the Middle Asian countries like Azarbayjan and Tajikistan,etc but as you know the level of football in those countries are lower than Iran. There are a lot of reasons that Iranian players go there: Some of them seek to experience a different environment and some others may have gone there to study in those countries’ universities and play football as well to pay for their education expenses.
Nima: Have any of your players been monitored by any European team ?
Afshin Ahmadi: Well as I mentioned earlier I am a new agent and my players are not famous yet to be reviewed by European clubs. I have selected some young players from Khouzestan province both in football and futsal and I develop them for the next few years!
Nima : We recently witness a new trend of IPL clubs bringing unknown African and south American players. Do these players come through Iranian agents?
Afshin Ahmadi: Well, Iran Pro League organization has announced some new regulations this season which based on these regulations, players from South America and Europe must have played in Professional or First division clubs of their countries and African players must have played in one of their national teams like U-17 , U-21 , U-23 etc. These regulations are good steps but only when they are implemented well by Iran football association and other football authoritie. Some players come here without having the requirements mentioned above and they want to play here. These players are not familiar with the rules here and people that bring them are not familiar as well!
These people are non-official player agents! If an official FIFA player agent brings a player to come here, he is fully aware of the rules and would only bring players that meet the conditions.
Nima : Any last word?
Afshin Ahmadi: I only hope IPL clubs collaborate more than now with the FIFA Player agents. It is true that some clubs are not familiar with FIFA agents but it is the duty of Iranian football federation and Iran Pro League Organization to introduce these agents to the clubs and enforce a requirement so they sign their players only through the official agents. Also I would like to thank you for this interview.