Azadi Stadium

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Azadi Stadium
Aryamehr Stadium
Azadi Stadium logo.jpg.gif
Azadi Stadium 1991.PNG
Full name Azadi Stadium [1]
Former names Aryamehr Stadium (1971–1979)
Location Tehran, Iran
Coordinates 35°43′27.99″N 51°16′31.88″E / 35.7244417°N 51.2755222°E / 35.7244417; 51.2755222
Owner Azadi Sport Complex
Operator MSYA
Tehran Municipality
Capacity 78,116 (since 2016)[2]
84,412 (2012–2016)[3]
95,225 (2003–2012)
100,000 (1973–2003)
Record attendance 128,000
Iran Iran vs. Australia Australia
Field size 110 m × 75 m (361 ft × 246 ft)
Surface Desso GrassMaster
Scoreboard 104 m2 jumbotron
Broke ground 1 October 1970
Built 1970–1973 (3 years)
Opened 18 October 1973 (1973-10-18)
1 September 1974 (1974-09-01) (1974 Asian Games)
Renovated 2002–2003, 2017–
Expanded 2002
Construction cost 2,578,183,966 tomans (€400,163,944)
Architect Abdol-Aziz Mirza Farmanfarmaian
Project manager Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Esteghlal (1973–present)
Persepolis (1973–present)
Iran national football team (1975–present)

The Azadi Stadium (Persian: ورزشگاه آزادیvarzeshgāh-e āzādi) formerly known as Aryamehr Stadium (Persian: ورزشگاه آریامهرvarzeshgāh-e āryāmehr) is an all-seater football stadium in Tehran, Iran. The stadium was designed by SOM, an American architectural, urban planning, and engineering firm. It was inaugurated on 18 October 1971 under the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran; it is currently self-owned by Esteghlal and Persepolis. It is also the home stadium of the Iran national football team. It has a capacity of 100,000 spectators,[3] though it has been able to hold more than that during special matches. The stadium is part of the much larger Azadi Sport Complex, and is surrounded by a rowing river, football training pitches, a weightlifting complex, swimming facilities and indoor volleyball and futsal courts, among many other amenities.

Aryamehr (meaning "Light of the Aryans"), renamed after the Iranian Revolution to Azadi (meaning "freedom" in Persian), is the 10th largest association football stadium in the world. It was built to host the 1974 Asian Games and has hosted the 1976 AFC Asian Cup. The stadium also hosted AFC Champions League final on two occasions: in 1999 and 2002.


The stadium is located in the West of Tehran, near Ekbatan district, and is easily accessible for most people living in the city. The stadium has two entrances. The West entrance is located on Ferdous street and the East entrance is on Farhangian street.


VIP façade of the stadium

The Azadi Stadium was constructed by Arme Construction Company and designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill for the 7th Asian Games in 1974 with international criteria. Its land measurement is 450 Hectares and it is located in West Tehran. It replaced the Amjadieh Stadium as the new home of Iran's national football team.

The stadium was built as part of a much larger complex which included numerous Olympic-sized venues for various sports, laying the groundwork for ambitious plans for Tehran to make a bid to host the Summer Olympics. In August of 1975, Iran's Shah, Tehran's Mayor and the Iranian Olympic Committee submitted a formal letter to the IOC, notifying it of Iran's interest in hosting the 1984 Summer Games.[4] The stadium was the focal point for the bid, in which it would have only required slight modifications to become the main Olympic Stadium. But political unrest in the late-1970s saw Tehran drop its bid for Games, leaving the eventual host, Los Angeles, the only city left bidding.

Renovations first began on the stadium in 2002, when the lower level had seats installed and the pitch was replanted along with the installation of an underground heating system. Stadium management also planned to later install seats in the upper level of the stadium. Those renovations were completed in 2003, and brought down the capacity of the stadium to well under 100,000. Later upgrades to the stadium brought it down to its current capacity of 78,116. Despite its reduced capacity, Azadi Stadium has been filled over capacity at times such as the Iran-Japan World Cup 2006 qualification match in March 2005 which resulted in the deaths of seven people. In 2004 a large jumbotron television was added, replacing the original scoreboard. This giant screen with a total area of about 300 square meters and screen area of 104 square meters (20 m by 7.5 m) is one of the biggest in the world. The stadium hosted two West Asian Football Federation Championship in 2004 and 2008. In 2008, AFC forced Sepahan to play the home matches in AFC Champions League in this stadium after their home stadium Naghsh-e-Jahan Stadium was closed for renovation. The stadium also is the regular host for Iran U-23 for the Olympics football qualifying.

In recent years the Iranian Football Federation has repeatedly submitted bids to host the AFC Asian Cup, which Iran last hosted in 1976. But some officials have hinted that rules in Iran banning women from stadiums like Azadi have kept international sports organizations from staging events there.[5] Iranian women have been banned from watching matches at Azadi Stadium since 1982.[6]


Building and facilities[edit]

The architect of the stadium were Abdolaziz Farmanfarmaian and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. At the beginning, the stadium had a maximum capacity of 120,000 visitors but was decreased to 84,000 after renovations in 2003. On the big occasions the crowd swells well beyond that. The design of the stadium amplifies the noise across the pitch. Opposing teams often find it difficult to play their best game, when the stadium is full, as the noise level becomes very high. According to, Azadi Stadium was voted most intimidating in Asia. The structural engineer and project manager for the building of the stadium was James Raymond Whittle from Newcastle, England.


There is enough parking for 400 cars inside the stadium, and an additional 10,000 parking spots are available outside. The nearest metro station is the Azadi Stadium Metro Station.

Record attendance[edit]

The record attendance at Azadi Stadium is over 128,000 during a 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Australia.[7]


Azadi Stadium, Tehran
Panoramic view from the Azadi Stadium

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°43′27.99″N 51°16′31.98″E / 35.7244417°N 51.2755500°E / 35.7244417; 51.2755500

Events and tenants
Preceded by
National Stadium
Asian Games
Opening and closing ceremonies

Succeeded by
National Stadium
Preceded by
National Stadium
AFC Asian Cup
Final venue

Succeeded by
Sabah Al-Salem Stadium
Kuwait City
Preceded by
Hong Kong Stadium
Hong Kong
Asian Club Championship
Final venue

Succeeded by
King Fahd Stadium
Preceded by
Suwon World Cup Stadium
Asian Club Championship
Final venue

Succeeded by
(two-legged finals)
Preceded by
Abbasiyyin Stadium
West Asian Football Federation Championship
Final venue

Succeeded by
Amman International Stadium
Preceded by
Amman International Stadium
West Asian Football Federation Championship
Final venue

Succeeded by
King Abdullah Stadium