|Clubs||Persepolis Tehran FC, Esteghlal Tehran FC|
|Renovations||2002 - 2003, 2004, 2016|
Description: Azadi Stadium
Stadium of Freedom – that’s how it would sound translated. And that would also sound ironic in a country where women are not allowed to enter the same sporting grounds that men use. Obviously they’re not entirely discouraged by this ban which several times resulted in thousands of females either entering the stands dressed as men or simply forcing their way inside as a mob. These events brought similar or even higher attention to Iranian football than results on the pitch.
On the other hand, the masculine audience is one of major factors that created this ground’s image as one of the world’s most intimidating grounds for opponents from other countries. The roar of some 100,000 men is famous among players visiting Teheran for qualifying games. It also sounds impressive when the stadium is divided 50:50 among local supporters in what may be the world’s largest derby – Esteghlal vs. Persepolis.
Azadi Stadium, raised in 1971, still has more to it than the capacity and atmosphere – though the size proved too small on quite a few occasions, resulting in overcrowding or even deaths. It also has a very significant feature which is local decorating texture covering the artificial hills on which parts of the ground are based. This “shell” has a huge size surpassing even the size of stands themselves. Routes leading to the upper tier of seating run on the “shell’s” surface, the ones to the lower tier being huge tunnels.
Iran: Tehran giant gets smaller once again
It began with 100,000 capacity, then went to 95,000, later 84,000. Now, for the first time in history, it’s below 80,000. Azadi Stadium has just become an all-seater.