A former member of the Iranian parliament voiced apprehensions regarding the dilapidated state of Azadi Stadium ahead of the upcoming Asian Champions League.
Ali Motahari raised questions about whether the country's sports authorities were adequately prepared for the tournament which will bring iconic players including Cristiano Ronaldo. While the prospect of football superstars gracing Iranian soil has generated excitement, concerns have surfaced regarding the condition of the stadium's pitch and its facilities.
Motahari stressed the need to ensure that Azadi Stadium and the VAR system are fully operational to prevent last-minute complications that could potentially tarnish the country's reputation on the international stage.
A few days ago, the official Persian X account of the Saudi Arabian government announced that the Al-Nassr team would be hosted at Azadi Stadium. However, the choice of accompanying photos in the message triggered a significant debate as it spotlighted the deteriorated state of the stadium's stands, indirectly critiquing its overall condition.
The 78,000 capacity Azadi Stadium, home to the Iranian national football team, has grappled with maintenance challenges for over a decade. Originally inaugurated as Aryamehr Stadium by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi on October 17, 1971, it was constructed to host the 1974 Asian Games and later served as the venue for the 1976 AFC Asian Cup. Since its inauguration in 1971, Iran has not seen the construction of a comparable stadium.