Persian Gulf Pro League

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Persian Gulf Pro League
لیگ برتر خلیج فارس
Persian Gulf Pro League Logo.png
Country  Iran
Confederation AFC
Founded 1970 officially
2001 with current format
Divisions 1
Number of teams 16
Levels on pyramid 1
Relegation to Azadegan League
Domestic cup(s) Hazfi Cup
Iranian Super Cup
International cup(s) AFC Champions League
Current champions Foolad (2nd title)
(2013–14)
Most championships Persepolis (9 titles)
TV partners IRIB TV3, Jame Jam 1 & Varzesh (live matches)
Channel 2 & Shoma (highlights)
Website Iranleague.ir
2014–15 Persian Gulf Pro League

The Persian Gulf Pro League (Persian: لیگ برتر خلیج فارس‎) also known as Iran Pro League (IPL) (Persian: جام خلیج فارس‎), is a professional football league competition for clubs located at the highest level of the Iranian football league system. It was founded in 1970 as the Takht Jamshid Cup, but the current format was adopted in 2001. Contested by 16 teams, it is ranked by the Asian Football Confederation as the 2nd best league in Asia and the best league in Western Asia.

The Persian Gulf Pro League is the top tier of an extensive pyramid-like structure, above the Azadegan League (or 1st Division), the 2nd division, the 3rd Division and the lower local leagues. Since the creation of the league in 2001, six different teams have become league champions. Sepahan is the most successful club with four league trophies, while Foolad are the current champions.

History[edit]

Iranian League Winners
Season Winner Runners-up
1970–71 Taj Pas Tehran
1971–72 Persepolis Pas Tehran
1973–74 Persepolis Taj
1974–75 Taj Persepolis
1975–76 Persepolis Homa
1976–77 Pas Tehran Persepolis
1977–78 Pas Tehran Persepolis
1989–90 Esteghlal Persepolis
1991–92 Pas Tehran Esteghlal
1992–93 Pas Tehran Persepolis
1993–94 Saipa Persepolis
1994–95 Saipa Esteghlal
1995–96 Persepolis Bahman
1996–97 Persepolis Bahman
1997–98 Esteghlal Pas Tehran
1998–99 Persepolis Esteghlal
1999–2000 Persepolis Esteghlal
2000–01 Esteghlal Persepolis
2001–02 Persepolis Esteghlal
2002–03 Sepahan Pas Tehran
2003–04 Pas Tehran Esteghlal
2004–05 Foolad Zob Ahan
2005–06 Esteghlal Pas Tehran
2006–07 Saipa Esteghlal Ahvaz
2007–08 Persepolis Sepahan
2008–09 Esteghlal Zob Ahan
2009–10 Sepahan Zob Ahan
2010–11 Sepahan Esteghlal
2011–12 Sepahan Tractor Sazi
2012–13 Esteghlal Tractor Sazi
2013–14 Foolad Persepolis

Foundation[edit]

Before the 1970s Iran did not have an official national league and most teams competed in their local leagues, the most popular of those leagues being the Tehran Local League, which featured teams like Pas Tehran, Persepolis, and Taj.[citation needed]

In 1972, the Takht Jamshid Cup was created as the national league and included teams from all over the country. Pas Tehran and Persepolis were the most successful clubs in the cups five year existence, winning the cup twice each. In 1978, the league was abandoned because of the Iranian Revolution.[citation needed]

Due to the revolution and the Iran–Iraq War, football was no longer a priority. In 1985, the Qods League was created and was played among provincial teams. Tehran A, and Esfahan were the most successful teams, winning the League twice each. In spite of the attempts to create a national league the most important competition in Iran in the 1980s was the Tehran Clubs Cup in which Persepolis dominated.[citation needed]

In 1991 the Qods League was renamed the Azadegan League in honor of Iranian prisoners of war. Pas Tehran won the inaugural edition of the league, and for the first time since the revolution, Iran had a national league. Pas Tehran, Persepolis, and Esteghlal were the leagues most successful sides, with Pas and Esteghlal winning the Asian Club Championships and Persepolis winning the Asian Cup Winners' Cup. In 2001 the league dissolved with the introduction of the new Iran Pro League.[citation needed]

Iran Pro League[edit]

The 2001–02 season saw the introduction of a professional football league in Iran.[1] The first winner of the Iran Pro League was Persepolis, who beat rival club Esteghlal by one point on the final match day. In the 2002–03 season, Sepahan won the league comfortably with seven points separating them and second placed Pas Tehran. In the 2003–04 Iran Pro League season, Pas Tehran won their first title after coming in second place the year before. Defending champions Sepahan finished 6th place. The 2004–05 season was a surprising one as Foolad shockingly won the title, finishing on top by six points. In the 2005–06 season, Tehran club Esteghlal won their first league title, winning on the final day as they finished one point ahead of second placed team Pas Tehran.

Persian Gulf Cup[edit]

On August 12, 2006, the Iranian Football Federation decided to change the name of the league once again. The name of the league was changed to the Persian Gulf Cup.[2] This was done to promote the name of the Persian Gulf, instead of the many variations that some nations and organizations use which Iran disputes. The logo of the league was also changed, with the winner being selected from over 130 designs and unveiled on November 14, 2006.[3]

Saipa was the 6th team to win the new edition of the league which meant six different teams won leagues in a row. However, Persepolis regained the title after six years in 2008 by a dramatic win against rivals Sepahan on the 96th minute of the final matchday and became the first team that won two titles in the new edition of the League. The next season, Esteghlal did the same thing and won the league for the second time on the final match day.

Sepahan's domestic dominance started in the 2009–10 season where they won the league comfortably, a feat which they did again the following season. They also won In the 2011–12 edition of the league, they had a more difficult job trying repeat the glory of the past years, they won it on the final match day for the third time in a row. They are the first club in the history of the Iran Pro League to win the League 3 times, and 3 times in a row. Sepahan's dominance ended in the 2012–13 season, when Esteghlal cruised to a comfortable league victory.

Before the start of the 2012–13 season, the IFF, who were recommended by Iran national football team manager Carlos Queiroz, announced that for the 2013–14 season the number of the teams will be reduced from 18 to 16, to increase the competitiveness of the league.

The 2013–14 season witnessed the closest title race since the league came into existence. Coming into the last match day, 5 teams had the possibility of becoming champions, in the end Foolad became champions after beating Gostaresh 1–0. While Persepolis finished second, two points behind Foolad. Although Sepahan beat Naft Tehran 1–0 on the final matchday, Naft finished third ahead of Sepahan because of better goal difference. With Esteghlal's 3–1 loss to Tractor Sazi, Esteghlal finished 5th and missed out on a Champions League spot for the first time in four years.

In the summer of 2014, the leagues name was officially changed to Persian Gulf Pro League, and a new logo was made as well.

Current clubs (2014–15)[edit]

Team City Venue Capacity
Esteghlal Tehran Azadi 84,412
Esteghlal Khuzestan Ahvaz Takhti Ahvaz 30,000
Foolad Ahvaz Ghadir 50,199
Gostaresh Tabriz Gostaresh Foolad 12,000
Malavan Anzali Takhti Anzali 15,559
Naft Masjed Soleyman Masjed Soleyman Behnam Mohammadi 8,000
Naft Tehran Tehran Dastgerdi 8,250
Padideh Mashhad Samen 30,000
Paykan Qods Shahre Qods 25,000
Perspolis Tehran Azadi 84,412
Rah Ahan Tehran Takhti Tehran 12,922
Saba Qom Qom Yadegar Emam 10,610
Saipa Karaj Enghelab Karaj 15,000
Sepahan Esfahan Foolad Shahr 15,000
Tractor Sazi Tabriz Sahand 66,833
Zob Ahan Esfahan Foolad Shahr 15,000

Champions[edit]

Further information: Iranian football champions

List of champions by season[edit]

Season Winner No. IPL titles
[Total titles]
2001–02 Persepolis 1 [8]
2002–03 Sepahan 1 [1]
2003–04 Pas Tehran 1 [5]
2004–05 Foolad 1 [1]
2005–06 Esteghlal 1 [6]
2006–07 Saipa 1 [3]
2007–08 Persepolis 2 [9]
2008–09 Esteghlal 2 [7]
2009–10 Sepahan 2 [2]
2010–11 Sepahan 3 [3]
2011–12 Sepahan 4 [4]
2012–13 Esteghlal 3 [8]
2013–14 Foolad 2 [2]

Most successful clubs since 2001 in Iran Pro League[edit]

Team Winners Runners-up Third Place
Sepahan 4 (2002–03, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12) 1 (2007–08) 1 (2012–13)
Esteghlal 3 (2005–06, 2008–09, 2012–13) 3 (2001–02, 2003–04, 2010–11) 3 (2004–05, 2009–10, 2011–12)
Persepolis 2 (2001–02, 2007–08) 1 (2013–14) 2 (2002–03, 2006–07)
Foolad 2 (2004–05, 2013–14) 2 (2001–02, 2003–04)
Pas Tehran 1 (2003–04) 2 (2002–03, 2005–06)
Saipa 1 (2006–07) 1 (2005–06)
Zob Ahan 3 (2004–05, 2008–09, 2009–10) 1 (2010–11)
Tractor Sazi 2 (2011–12, 2012–13)
Esteghlal Ahvaz 1 (2006–07)
Naft Tehran 1 (2013–14)

All-time Premier League standings[edit]

Season Persepolis Esteghlal Sepahan
2001–02 1 2 9
2002–03 3 9 1
2003–04 5 2 6
2004–05 4 3 10
2005–06 9 1 7
2006–07 3 4 5
2007–08 1 13 2
2008–09 5 1 4
2009–10 4 3 1
2010–11 4 2 1
2011–12 12 3 1
2012–13 7 1 3
2013–14 2 5 4
Top three
finishes
5 9 6
out of 13
Key: Champions
2nd or 3rd place
4th or below

Since the 2001–02 season, thirteen seasons of the Professional League has been completed. The below table shows the total ranking for the all football clubs competing in these all 13 seasons.[citation needed]

Pos. Club Seasons Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Best Rank
1 Esteghlal 13 402 198 126 78 602 384 +218 719 Champions
2 Sepahan 13 402 192 123 91 597 388 +209 6821 Champions
3 Persepolis 13 402 174 135 93 565 423 +142 6502 Champions
4 Zob Ahan 13 402 158 132 112 485 412 +73 606 2nd
5 Foolad 12 368 145 123 100 460 382 +78 558 Champions
6 Saipa 13 402 123 147 132 467 465 +2 516 Champions
7 Malavan 12 368 110 119 139 354 433 -79 448 7th
8 Fajr Sepasi 12 368 111 122 149 347 406 -59 438 4th
9 Saba Qom 10 324 104 125 95 387 367 +20 437 3rd
10 Paykan 10 308 94 82 132 326 402 -76 364 5th
11 Mes Kerman 8 264 85 99 80 310 292 +18 354 3rd
12 Aboomoslem 9 270 83 90 97 299 305 -6 339 4th
13 Rah Ahan 9 298 78 97 119 303 364 -61 331 8th
14 Esteghlal Ahvaz 8 244 78 71 95 310 344 -34 305 2nd
15 Tractor Sazi 6 192 76 68 53 248 204 +44 295 2nd
16 Pas Tehran 6 168 72 59 37 263 181 +82 275 Champions
17 Bargh Shiraz 8 236 60 78 98 250 334 -84 258 7th
18 Damash Gilan 8 248 57 80 111 228 342 -114 250 7th
19 Naft Tehran 4 132 49 47 36 154 134 +20 194 3rd
20 Sanat Naft 5 162 43 42 77 178 251 -73 171 9th
21 Pas Hamedan 4 136 38 47 51 140 166 -26 161 5th
22 Shahin Bushehr 3 102 23 38 41 98 117 -19 107 13th
23 Steel Azin 2 68 19 23 26 85 112 -27 80 5th
24 Shamoushak 3 86 16 26 44 64 118 -54 74 14th
25 Shahrdari Tabriz 2 68 14 29 25 79 97 -18 71 12th
26 Aluminium Hormozgan 1 34 7 14 13 26 40 -14 35 15th
27 Payam Mashhad 1 34 9 8 17 33 52 -19 35 16th
28 Gostaresh 1 30 7 11 12 31 34 -3 32 10th
29 Esteghlal Khuzestan 1 30 6 11 13 26 37 -11 29 12th
30 Mes Sarcheshmeh 1 34 5 9 20 23 54 -31 24 18th
31 Shirin Faraz 1 34 3 12 19 25 59 -34 21 18th
32 Shahid Ghandi Yazd 1 30 4 7 19 21 43 -22 19 16th
33 Gahar Doroud 1 34 3 10 21 24 59 -35 19 18th

1 Sepahan was deducted 3 points in 2007–08 season issued by Iranian Football Federation.
2 Persepolis was deducted 6 points in 2007–08 season issued by FIFA.[citation needed]

Competition format and sponsorship[edit]

Competition[edit]

There are currently 16 clubs in the league,[4] although the competition started in 2001–02 with 14 teams.[5] The season lasts from August to May, with each club playing the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents for a total of 30 games for each club, with a total of 240 games in each season. Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw. Teams are ranked by total points, then goal difference and then goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned as champion. At the end of the season, the two worst teams are relegated directly to the Azadegan League. While the third worst team plays in a relegation play-off with an Azadegan League club.

In the Azadegan League there are two groups, the top team from each group is automatically promoted to the top flight. But, the two runner-up teams have to play against each other in a 2-legged competition. The winner is promoted to the Iran Pro League play-off, while the loser remains in the Azadegan League.

In 2012, the league considered reducing the amount of teams to 16, for the 2012–13 season. This idea was dismissed for the 2012–13 season, but was implicated for the 2013–14 season.

Qualification for Asian competitions[edit]

As of 2008 four teams from Iran qualify for the AFC Asian Champions League annually. This includes the top three teams of the PGPL together with the winner of the Hazfi Cup. If the winner of the Hazfi Cup is also among the three top PGPL teams then the fourth best PGPL team also qualifies.

Sponsorship[edit]

Former logo, used from 2006 to 2014

The Persian Gulf Pro League has been sponsored since 2005. There have been four sponsors since the league's formation. In 2014, Irannovin Company became the League's sponsor for a record fee.

  • 2001–2005: No sponsor
  • 2005–2007: Zam Zam
  • 2007–2009: Padideh
  • 2009–2014: Irancell
  • 2014–present: Sun Star

According to a November 2012 study, in the 2010–11 season Iran Pro League clubs on average obtained 15% of their income from sponsorship.[6]

Ownership[edit]

Media coverage[edit]

Channel 3 broadcast two games a week nationally and IRIB 2 broadcast two games a week internationally, however due to the immense popularity of Tehran teams Persepolis F.C. and Esteghlal F.C. only these teams' matches are shown on IRIB 2 internationally. Since the 2012-13 season IRIB Varzesh will televise a second game each week nationally. With the provincial channels broadcasting the rest of their local games. Occasionally on important match days, such as the final day, Channel 2 and Shoma broadcast games nationally.

On 20 July 2011, IRIB and the IFF came to agreement regarding TV rights of both IPL and national team matches worth $96.5 million that will run until 2014.[7]

Players[edit]

Transfer season[edit]

  • The summer transfer season for teams in the Persian Gulf Pro League lasts from June 18 to 12pm on August 8.
  • The winter transfer season for teams in the Persian Gulf Pro League lasts from January 1 to 12pm on January 31.

Foreigner cap[edit]

Each team is allowed as many foreign players in their squad as they desire, however there is a rule that only permits three foreign players the pitch at any one time for each side. In the past there have been breaches of this rule and in the 2006–07 season Pas Tehran were deducted one point for fielding four foreigners on one occasion and handed a 3–0 loss. Shortly after the 2011–12 Iran Pro League season finished, the IFF announced that foreign goalkeepers on Iranian teams would be banned from Azadegan League, Iran Pro League, Hazfi Cup, and Asian Champions League. A few weeks later, the IFF announced that the ban of foreign goalkeepers had been lifted, and that each team is allowed 4 foreign on the field including the goalkeeper.

Ranking[edit]

As of 2012 it was ranked as the 36th strongest league in the world by the IFFHS.[8] It was also ranked the 2nd best league in Asia and the best in Western Asia by the Asian Football Confederation.

Records[edit]

All-time top scorers[edit]

last update: December 11, 2014

No. Player Goals Years
1 Iran Reza Enayati 133 2001 to present
2 Iran Arash Borhani 114 2002 to present
3 Iran Mehdi Rajabzadeh 93 2001 to present
4 Iran Fereydoon Fazli 85 2001 to 2010
5 Iran Karim Ansarifard 76 2007 to 2014
6 Iran Jalal Rafkhaei 71 2005 to present
= Iraq Emad Mohammed 70 2005 to 2012
8 Brazil Edinho 67 2007 to present
= Iran Reza Norouzi 67 2007 to present
10 Iran Mohammad Reza Khalatbari 65 2006 to present
= Iran Siavash Akbarpour 65 2004 to present
12 Iran Mohammad Gholami 64 2001 to present
13 Iran Mehdi Seyed-Salehi 63 2001 to present
14 Iran Mohsen Bayatinia 62 2001 to present
15 Senegal Ibrahima Touré 60 2007 to 2011
16 Iran Saeid Daghighi 58 2004 to present
17 Iran Davoud Haghi 53 2003 to 2013
18 Iran Iman Razaghirad 52 2001 to 2014
19 Iran Hadi Asghari 52 2005 to 2012
20 Iran Ali Daei 49 2003 to 2007

Players in bold are still active in the league.

Winning managers[edit]

last update: April 20, 2014

Season Nationality Winning manager Club
2001–02  Iran Parvin, AliAli Parvin Persepolis
2002–03  Iran Kazemi, FarhadFarhad Kazemi Sepahan
2003–04  Iran Jalali, MajidMajid Jalali Pas Tehran
2004–05  Croatia Mladen Frančić Foolad
2005–06  Iran Ghalenoei, AmirAmir Ghalenoei Esteghlal
2006–07  Iran Daei, AliAli Daei Saipa
2007–08  Iran
 United States
Ghotbi, AfshinAfshin Ghotbi Persepolis
2008–09  Iran Ghalenoei, AmirAmir Ghalenoei Esteghlal
2009–10  Iran Ghalenoei, AmirAmir Ghalenoei Sepahan
2010–11  Iran Ghalenoei, AmirAmir Ghalenoei Sepahan
2011–12  Croatia Kranjčar, ZlatkoZlatko Kranjčar Sepahan
2012–13  Iran Ghalenoei, AmirAmir Ghalenoei Esteghlal
2013–14  Iran Faraki, HosseinHossein Faraki Foolad

Multiple winning managers[edit]

last update: April 20, 2014

No. Winning manager Club No. titles
1 Iran Amir Ghalenoei Esteghlal, Sepahan 5
2 Iran Ali Parvin Perspolis 1
Iran Farhad Kazemi Sepahan
Iran Majid Jalali Pas Tehran
Croatia Mladen Frančić Foolad
Iran Ali Daei Saipa
IranUnited States Afshin Ghotbi Persepolis
Croatia Zlatko Kranjčar Sepahan
Iran Hossein Faraki Foolad

Multiple winning players[edit]

last update: April 20, 2014 [9]

No. Winning player Club No. titles
1 Iran Moharram Navidkia Sepahan 4
Iran Jalal Hosseini Saipa, Sepahan
Iran Mehdi Rahmati Esteghlal, Sepahan
Iran Hashem Beikzadeh Esteghlal, Sepahan
Brazil Fábio Januário Esteghlal, Sepahan
6 Iran Mohsen Bengar Sepahan 3
Iran Ahmad Jamshidian Sepahan
Iran Mehdi Karimian Sepahan
Iran Hossein Papi Sepahan
Iran Mehdi Jafarpour Sepahan
Iran Rahman Ahmadi Saipa, Sepahan
Iran Shahin Kheiri Sepahan, Esteghlal
Iran Pejman Montazeri Foolad, Esteghlal
Iran Kianoush Rahmati Pas Tehran, Esteghlal
Iran Siavash Akbarpour Esteghlal
Iran Arash Borhani Pas Tehran, Esteghlal
Iran Mojtaba Jabbari Esteghlal

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mehrdad Estiri, Mohammad Haghighi, Reza Mohammadkazemi, Hamzeh Rayej & Mohammad Jahed (2010). "Promotion in Iran's Football Pro-league: Important but Weak!". International Journal of Applied Sports Sciences (Korea Institute of Sports Science) 22 (1): 62. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  2. ^ برنامه‌ي كامل دور رفت ششمين دوره‌ي ليگ برتر فوتبال؛ ليگ برتر به "خليج فارس" تغيير نام داد (in Persian). ISNA. Retrieved 2006-08-14. 
  3. ^ برترين طرح ارائه شده براي ليگ برتر انتخاب شد (in Persian). IRIFF Official Website. Retrieved 2006-11-24. 
  4. ^ "Persian Gulf Cup". Soccerway. Global Sports Media. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Iran League Seasons". Persianleague.com. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  6. ^ Mahsa Qorbani, Mohammad Javad Sheikh, Meysam Bagheri (November 2012). "A comparative study of how to finance professional football premier leagues in Iran and England". Scholarly Journal of Business Administration 2(9): 147. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  7. ^ http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9004295645
  8. ^ "The strongest National League in the World 2012". IFFHS. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  9. ^ با رسیدن به نویدکیا و سیدجلال/ رحمتی، بیک زاده و جانواریو هم 4 تایی شدند (in Persian). Goal.com. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 

External links[edit]