Ahmadinejad’s Soccer Power Play

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, like Mike Krzyzewski and Jeff Samardzija, has a surname I will never fail to copy and paste, was hoping a recent World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia would help him curry favor with voters. However, Iran squandered a late lead and lost the home match, 2-1. Ahmadinejad then quickly moved against head coach Ali Daei:

Ahmadinejad had hoped a victory would bring him political capital before the presidential poll in June. The desire to score a propaganda coup even prompted the president’s fans to credit him when Iran took a 1-0 lead. But the euphoria evaporated in the last 12 minutes and Daei’s fate was sealed as a mass mobile phone text to Ahmadinejad’s supporters went out, reading: “Due to the importance of national public opinion to Dr Ahmadinejad, Ali Daei has been forced out.”

Fairly pedestrian stuff for a tyrant, and at least he’s not pulling an Uday on his disgraced footballers. What’s interesting, though, is whether FIFA, which strictly bans political meddling, will suspend Iran for a second time.


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