Art And Culture

Hottest Asian Club Rivalry Between Esteghlal, Persepolis

Hottest Asian Club Rivalry Between Esteghlal, PersepolisHottest Asian Club Rivalry Between Esteghlal, Persepolis

The well-known English football magazine World Soccer in its December issue has reviewed 50 greatest football rivalries, among which the match between Iranian clubs Esteghlal Tehran and Persepolis Tehran is cited as the most exciting club game in Asia.

The article includes the world’s biggest club games and international matches such as Germany vs. the Netherlands and Japan vs. South Korea, reported.

It describes the Tehran derby, a football match between two top teams from the same area, as “the biggest derby in Asian club football which takes place between Tehran’s two biggest outfits and regularly attracts crowds of more than 100,000 to the Azadi Stadium, which they share”.

The clubs first played each other in 1968. Over time, the rivalry become more heated and because of the sensitive nature of the matches, violence by the fanatic fans, like elsewhere in the world, has occurred several times.

From 1995 to 2009 foreign referees were invited to officiate, to reduce the likelihood of bias or claims thereof in favor of one side or the other.

Taking place at least twice during the year via the Persian Gulf Pro League fixtures, the rivalry has extended to the Knockout Cup Competition as well as minor tournaments and friendlies.

As of October 30, 2015, there were 75 competitive first-class meetings between the two teams since the first league meeting in 1969. In all 81 competitive and non-competitive meetings since 1968, Esteghlal has won 24 and Persepolis 19.

For the derby in October 1983, an estimated 128,000 entered the 100,000-capacity Azadi Stadium west of the capital. So many fans were in attendance that some were forced to climb the metal base of the stadium floodlights. None of the derby matches to this date have had a higher attendance.

According to the Football Federation of Iran, Esteghlal and Perspolis have the highest number of supporters across the country.