Shirzanan’s Interview with Persepolis Futsal team head coach

We just pretend to be professionals
Shirzanan: “why shouldn’t I be paid like a male coach? Why our female soccer players don’t have a contract similar to male players? We could dedicate all our time to soccer if our payments were just. We all have other jobs and Futsal is our second or third job. A male soccer player in Iran gets paid around 150 million Tomans, a female player gets one tenth of that amount.” says Mahnaz Amirshaghaghy, Persepolis women’s Futsal team head coach. Amirshaghaghy is one of the founders of women’s Futsal in Iran. (Futsal is an indoor soccer game.)
Ms. Amirshaghaghy describes women’s sports in Iran as; “ We are all great actresses, we all pretend to be professionals, but we really aren’t.”
When did you begin working on Futsal?
Since 1996 we started Futsal in Hijab gymnasium. Back then Futsal was new and with the help of Ms. Nazarali, Saleh and Karamzadeh we decided to activate indoor soccer game for women. For the first two years we had limited the competitions in Tehran Province. From 1998 we officially held competitions all over the country.
Did you have enough Futsal trainers and coaches?
I was the only coach at the beginning. In 1997 we had a general coaching course for Futsal and 8 coaches took that course. Latter on the number increased.
When did you form the national women’s Futsal League?
The first official competition was in 2000; different clubs and private investors supported the league and we could form the national league. We named the first team after Hijab gymnasium. Although the team had many names back then, because of the sponsors the name changes. Right now we are supported by Persepolis club and the name of the team is Persepolis.
Did the team ever attend the national league without any sponsers?
Yes. Before we play for Persepolis club I was managing the team on my own. Before that we worked with Azad University. We had some problems with them so we decided to work without any sponsor. The problems varied from an unorganized management to commuting services. It was very stressful.
Do you have fewer problems with Persepolis sponsorship?
Yes. Everything works better. If we were sponsored by them from the beginning we might have the championship by now.
What is a female Futsal player’s salary in general?
Of course the conditions are far from any professional Futsal league. We are all university educated and active players but we get paid way less. The highest salary of a female Futsal player is 200 thousand Tomans (around $200).
How did the changes in Iran’s Football Federation affected women’s Futsal? Is it better now under the new management?
I think Ms. Shojaie, the new deputy manager in football federation, is helping wome’s soccer in general. [In comparison with the former managers] Before I didn’t have much say in National team, despite the fact that many of my players were chosen for the national team.
Do you think Iran women ‘s Futsal can get to a high place in Asia like Iran men’s Futsal?
Look, men’s team are really professional, women ‘s sport is not; because of our payments I as a head coach should work three job. If we get more financial support we can get to a professional level. As I said before right now we only pretend to be professional.