By Hamed Mohammadi


Economic sanctions targeting the Iranian banking system have made it difficult for the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) to pay the salary of Marc Wilmots, the Belgian manager of the Iranian national football team, according to Seyyed Mehdi Alavi, the spokesman for the FFIRI.

The problem could not have come at a worse time given that Iran is scheduled to meet the Iraqi national football team in the second round of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup Asian qualifying matches on November 14.

“The Ministry of Sport and Youth helped us to draft parts of the contract with Mr. Wilmots,” Mr. Alavi was quoted by the Mehr News Agency as saying. “We made two payments through a foreign intermediary bank which has tried to deposit the money in Wilmots’ account. However, there have been some issues regarding the wire transfer which the FFIRI has been trying to resolve. We will pay the third installment soon.”

“Sanctions have made banking and wire transfers very difficult,” Alavi explained. “The FFIRI has worked hard for the past month to solve this problem. All credit goes to Wilmots for not mentioning the issue even once during this period. We hope to solve this problem soon so we can focus on the forthcoming match with Iraq.”

There are unconfirmed reports that Wilmots has signaled its intention to resign as the manager of the Iranian national football team.

Although the FFIRI insists that it has wired Wilmots’ salary to his account, Belgian media have reported that he might leave his job if the issue remains unresolved.

According to the Belgian DH Sports online news website, Wilmot left his previous job as the manager of the Ivory Coast national football team in 2017, which he held for only seven months, under similar circumstances.

[Translated from Persian by Fardine Hamidi]