WANA (Sep 08) – NOURNEWS- In two weeks, Tehran’s Persepolis F.C. will host Saudi Arabia’s “Al-Nassr” team and its Portuguese star, the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo, at Azadi Stadium. Regardless of the result obtained at the end of the match between the two prominent West Asian teams on the football field, the first score of this game will be recorded in the name of successful regional diplomacy. Because not only the seven-year spell of the football teams of the two countries playing in the stadiums of Iran and Saudi Arabia is broken, but the spread of the benefits of an agreement from the political arena to the sports field shows that the new agreement between the two regional powers, contrary to the claims, was not “ceremonial” and “decorative”.



On the 10 of March 2023, an hour after the agreement on the normalization of relations between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was signed by Admiral Ali Shamkhani, then Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, and his Saudi counterpart, Al Aibani, the western political and media circles were surprised and skeptical when they looked at the hands that were squeezed warmly in Beijing.

After the media coverage of the agreement between Tehran and Riyadh, numerous regional and international analysts considered the new agreement unenforceable and merely a measure to manage tension. Although on the surface, the most important effect of this agreement was the increase of hopes for the end of the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, immediately all eyes noticed the confusion of the equations, and consequently, the Western-Hebrew deals under the title of “Abraham Accord”, which the Zionists are eagerly waiting for it to bear fruit, which is, the normalization of Arab countries’ relations with the Zionist regime and further isolation of Iran.

Accordingly, the media and political circles under the Western-Zionist leadership, in their initial reactions, tried to consider the agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia as a “signature show”, a “cold peace” or a balloon and hollow agreement, which at best leads to the restoration of minimal diplomatic relations, but between the signing of the agreement on the normalization of relations until now, the movements of the two countries, including the increase of trips, the mutual invitation of the high-ranking officials of the two countries, the reopening of the embassies and consulates and the introduction of new ambassadors, showed that the determination of Tehran and Riyadh for entering the new stage of bilateral relations is very serious.

However, the countries that see a safe West Asia, regional stability, and development of cooperation in complete conflict with their interests always claimed that the opacity that had darkened the relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia since 2016 has turned too vast and deep-rooted to be resolved with a few rounds of negotiations and one or two agreements.

Accordingly, on the eve of the Asian Champions League and the announcement of the confrontation between the Iranian and Saudi Arabian club teams, a wide media campaign began with the keyword “playground” as a point of difference between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

It was two weeks ago that the draw for the group stage of the 2023-2024 Asian Champions League season was held at the AFC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Tehran’s Persepolis, Isfahan’s Sepahan and Mazandaran’s Nassaji, the three representatives of Iran, knew their rivals in this round of the competition.

According to the announcement of the Asian Football Confederation, the group stage of this competition will begin on September 18, and one day after the start of the games, Persepolis from Iran and Al-Nassr from Saudi Arabia will face each other. In the framework of these competitions, Al-Ittihad and Karim Benzema will face Sepahan, and Al-Hilal and Neymar will face Nassaji Mazandaran.

It was here that it was mentioned that it is possible to hold matches between the representatives of the two countries on a neutral ground in a third country, as in the past seven years. The procedure started in 2016 with the request and complaint of Saudi Arabia. Despite the speculations, the Asian Football Confederation finally officially announced that from now on, the matches between the football representatives of Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Asian Champions League will be held on the soil of the two countries. In accordance, both the “hosting fake scandal” ended well, and the woven reports and analyses that were supposed to be unveiled in the event of the games being held in a third country became useless, and the football rectangle remained green.

This remarkable event, which, of course, has its own attractions due to the presence of famous stars in Saudi Arabia’s club teams, although it is a sport in nature, it is naive not to consider it as a product of a political agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia and simply ignore its values ​​in the area of ​​accelerating relations between Tehran and Riyadh.

BY: Mohammad Ghaderi