Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Sport Club (Persian: باشگاه ورزشی فولاد مبارکه سپاهان) commonly known as Sepahan, is an Iranian football club based in Isfahan. They compete in Iran's top-level league known as Persian Gulf Pro League and with 5 championships, they have won the most pro league titles among the Iranian clubs (2002–03, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12 and 2014–15). In 2002–03 season, they became the first non-Tehran based team to win the Iranian League title. They are also the first and the only Iranian football club who won three consecutive titles in Iranian Football League history.
|Full name||Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Sport Club|
|Founded||5 October 1953|
|Ground||Naghsh-e Jahan Stadium|
|Owner||Mobarakeh Steel Company|
|League||Persian Gulf Pro League|
|2018–19||Persian Gulf Pro League, 2nd|
Sepahan have been the most successful football club in Iran since the establishment of Iran Pro League in 2001, with five IPL championships and four Hazfi Cup titles. They are also the first Iranian club who reached the AFC Champions League final in 2007 and qualified to play in the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup at the same year.
Sepahan Football Club is usually known for its successful and consistent management as well as its youth academy in Iranian football system.By winning multiple tiles since 2003, they have succeeded to end the complete dominance of two famous clubs, Persepolis and Esteghlal, in Iranian football system. The Club is the football division of Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Sport Club and is owned by Mobarakeh Steel Company
In 1953, with the help of Iran national football team player Mahmoud Hariri the Shahin Isfahan football club was created. This club was one of the teams attached to the more popular and successful Shahin F.C. of Tehran. In 1963 Shahin as the representative of Isfahan Province became champions of Iran after a 1–1 draw against Tehran XI. In 1967 due to the problems that arose in the Shahin F.C. organization in Tehran, the Isfahan branch was forced to cease operations. The club changed its name to Sepahan. The club participated in the Takht Jamshid Cup league from 1974 to 1978. In the club's first season in the Takht Jamshid Cup they finished in 10th place ahead of city rivals Zob Ahan.
After the Revolution, they played in the local Isfahan leagues for many years until 1993. That year the club was purchased by the Siman-e-Sepahan (Sepahan Cement) factory of Isfahan. It participated in the Azadegan League until the year 2000, when Foolad Mobarekeh (Steel Mill of Mobarekeh Isfahan) bought the team from the Siman factory. The team now plays under the name of Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan, and enjoys very good support by the club board, and has been able to attain a respectable fan base in its hometown.
The club was able to demonstrate its worth when it captured the league title in the 2002–03 season of the IPL, and qualified for the AFC Champions League tournament with Farhad Kazemi. It also won the Hazfi Cup in 2004 and was able to qualify for another season of the ACL competition, though the club did not have much success in the continental tournaments of ACL 2004 and 2005.
With Luka Bonačić, Sepahan was able to once again win the Hazfi Cup on 22 September 2006. With this win, they gained Iran's final and second spot in the AFC Champions League 2007. They were impressive in continental stage as they finished top of their group and defeated Kawasaki Frontale of Japan and Al Wahda of the UAE to reach the final of the newly established continental tournament for the first time. Although they lost the final to Urawa Red Diamonds on aggregate, by reaching the final, Sepahan became the first Iranian club to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup.
In the opening match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2007, Sepahan defeated Waitakere United of New Zealand to reach the quarter-final where they met Urawa Red Diamonds for a spot in the semifinal match against AC Milan. Urawa Reds managed to defeat Sepahan for the second time in just one month, reaching the semifinals of the FIFA Club World Cup.
Sepahan has qualified for the AFC Champions League for the third consecutive time in 2009, coming as the Runners-up in Persian Gulf Cup 2007-08. Sepahan lost the title by only one point to Persepolis F.C., who beat them 2–1 in the last match of the season with a winner six minutes into second half injury time. They tried to improve the team by sacking the Brazilian coach Viera and replacing him with the German coach Firat but they had a difficult season where they could not win anything in the 2008–09 season and changed the coach three times.
In the next season Sepahan hired Turkish and former Iran's assistant coach Engin Firat, but he was fired after getting poor result in the league, and Hossein Charkhabi who was Sepahan Novin head coach at that time replaced Firat. Despite getting good result with the team Charkahbi was replaced once again with Farhad Kazemi who won the league title with Sepahan in the 2002–03 season. Finally Sepahan finished 4th in the league and qualified for the 2010 AFC Champions League Group stage. In the next season the club hired former Iran and Esteghlal head coach Amir Ghalenoei, at the helm of Sepahan's 2010 Season, the club sealed a championship title two weeks before the end of the season with a 2–2 tie against F.C. Aboomoslem.
In the 2010–11 Persian Gulf Cup, Sepahan dominated the league after a slow start and practically won the title two weeks before the season end. They also advanced to the knock out stage of the ACL competition, after finishing on top of the table in the group stage. Their group was arguably the group of death, consisting of Al-Hilal, Al Gharafa and Al-Jazira. They won their third championship and became the most successful team in Iran Pro League.
They also repeated their league title in 2011–12 season, this time with Croatian manager, Zlatko Kranjčar. Sepahan also made it to the quarter-finals of 2012 AFC Champions League after defeating the fellow Iranian club Esteghlal.
In 2013 however, Sepahan was placed in Group C of the 2013 AFC Champions League and was unable to get past the 2013 AFC Champions League group stage. Being placed in the same group as Al-Gharafa Sports Club of Qatar, Al-Ahli SC of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates' Al Nasr SC, they could not qualify as one of the top two teams of their group. Sepahan started the 2013 AFC Champions League with a great win at home against Al Nasr SC, however heading for an away game against Al-Gharafa Sports Club in Qatar, Sepahan only returned home humiliated by the Qatari team in a 3–1 lost game. That was not the end of Sepahan's poor performance in the AFC Champions League. About three weeks after their loss in Qatar, Sepahan hosted Al-Ahli SC at Foolad Shahr Stadium, losing poorly once again but this time with a score of 4–2. Sepahan still had a chance after those two losses, but all hopes were lost once they lost in front of the Saudi giants again, this time with a score of 4–1 thus having them bid farewell to the 2013 AFC Champions League.
In the 2013–14 Iran Pro League season, Sepahan finished 4th, thus missing out on the AFC Champions League for the first time in five years. At the end of the season, Croatian manager Zlatko Kranjčar announced that he would not be returning for the 2014–2015 season. Sepahan also struggled in the Champions League as well, failing to make it past the group stage with a 1–0 loss to Al Hilal on the final match day. After originally announcing he was leaving the club, Sepahan announced that they had extended the contract of Kranjčar for another season.
Sepahan started the 2014–15 season with three wins in a row. However, Sepahan did not win their next four matches. Kranjčar resigned on 8 September 2014 and was replaced with former Foolad manager Hossein Faraki.
On 15 May 2015, with a 2–0 Sepahan victory over Saipa and Tractor Sazi drawing 3–3 with Naft Tehran, Sepahan won their fifth league title with a one-point margin over runner up Tractor Sazi. With the league victory, Sepahan returned to the AFC Champions League after a one-year absence.
On November 12, 2015 Hossein Faraki left Sepahan for personal problems. Faraki left by saying “Things just don’t seem to be working out for me and I decided to quit my job in the team, I have nothing more to say because I think Sepahan needs concentration at the moment since they will play in Iran’s Hazfi Cup on Thursday,” 
Štimac and Veisi yearsEdit
After Hossein Faraki's resignation, the club signed former Croatian national team manager Igor Štimac. Igor Štimac won his first game against Naft Tehran, but after not winning a game in 10 weeks made the situations harder for Sepahan. Sepahan got knocked out of the Hazfi Cup by their rivals, Zob Ahan in penalties at the semi-final. Sepahan also went out of the AFC Champions League after losing five times in the first round. Igor Štimac resigned as Sepahan head coach on 20 April 2016, after a run of unsuccessful results which led the league champions Sepahan to end up in 11th place and out of both season's cups, Hazfi Cup and AFC Champions League.
Before the start of the 2016–17 season, Abdollah Veisi who had led Esteghlal Khuzestan to the league title, was announced as the new manager of Sepahan but sepahans poor results continued so they announced Zlatko Kranjčar as their new manager. Sepahan finished the season in the 5th place.
Sepahan is also one of the clubs in Iranian football to have a senior reserve team, Foolad Sepahan Novin F.C., that as of the 2007/08 season, participates in 3rd Division and the Hazfi Cup. The reserve team was promoted to the Iran Pro League from the Azadegan League, but was not allowed to participate due to Fifa's regulations about two teams from the same club playing in the same league.
- Main articles: Isfahan Derby
The Nagsh-e- Jahan derby is a football match played annually in of Isfahan, Iran, between the two rival professional teams of the city: Zob Ahan F.C. and Sepahan F.C.. Naqsh-e Jahan is an important square in old centrum of Isfahan.
According to Iranian football journalist Afshin Afshar, the competition is one of the most popular annual football events in Iran. The Isfahan derby goes back to the 1970s, when Zob Ahan F.C. and Sepahan F.C. faced each other in Takht Jamshid Cup seasons (1974/75, 1975/76, 1976/77, 1977/78). Their rivalry resumed in the 1990s when they faced each other in Azadegan League seasons (1993/94, 1996/97, 1997/98) and from then on the two met each other twice a year.
The Naghsh-e-Jahan Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Isfahan, Iran that is home ground of Sepahan. It is currently used for football matches. The stadium was built in 2003 and holds 45,000 in a three-tier configuration. The first phase finished in 2003 and they have decided to finish the second phase which is the first floor of the stadium. It was started in 2007 and was meant to be finished by 2008, but construction continued until summer 2016. The final capacity of the stadium will be 75,000. Sepahan's second home ground is Foolad Shahr Stadium that is the home ground of Zob Ahan F.C. too. Some of Sepahan's matches are held in that stadium.
For details on seasons, see List of Sepahan F.C. seasons
Season Div. Pos. Hazfi Cup Asia 2001–02 IPL 9th Semi-Final - - 2002–03 IPL Champions Semi-Final - - 2003–04 IPL 6th Champions ACL Group stage 2004–05 IPL 10th 1/8 Final ACL Group stage 2005–06 IPL 7th Champions - - 2006–07 PGC 5th Champions ACL Runner Up 2007–08 PGC 2nd Quarter-Final ACL Group stage 2008–09 PGC 4th 1/8 Final ACL Group stage 2009–10 PGC Champions 1/8 Final ACL Group stage 2010–11 PGC Champions Quarter-Final ACL Quarter-Final 2011–12 PGC Champions Round of 32 ACL Quarter-Final 2012–13 PGC 3rd Champions ACL Group stage 2013–14 PGC 4th Round of 32 ACL Group stage 2014–15 PGPL Champions Round of 32 - - 2015–16 PGPL 11th Semi-Final ACL Group stage 2016–17 PGPL 5th Semi-Final - - 2017–18 PGPL 14th Round of 32 - - 2018–19 PGPL 2nd - -
|Competition||First match||Last match||Starting round||Final position||Record|
|Takht Jamshid Cup||26 April 1971||20 August 1978||1971||11th||126||28||45||53||87||133||−46||22.22|
|Azadegan League||26 July 1991||09 April 2001||1991||4th||256||93||87||76||342||246||+96||36.33|
|Persian Gulf Pro League||2 November 2001||27 April 2018||3 November 2001||3rd||522||230||166||126||709||500||+209||44.06|
Last updated: 16 August 2018
- Iran Pro League/Persian Gulf Pro League
- Hazfi Cup
- Runners-up (1): 2007
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- [U21 = Under 21 year player | U23 = Under 23 year player| U25 = Under 25 year player]
For recent transfers, see List of Iranian football transfers winter 2018–19.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For details on former players, see Category:Sepahan players.
Current managerial staffEdit
|First team coach||Miguel Teixeira|
|Assistant coaches|| Ghasem Zaghinejad |
|Goalkeepers coach||Rui Tavares|
|Fitness trainer||Bayaz Pourmami|
|Doctor assistant||Asghar Majidikia|
|Masseurs|| Hossein Afshardoost |
|Administrative manager||Reza Fatahi|
|Executive manager||Reza Fatahi|
|Chairman of the Board||Manouchehr Nikfar|
|Treasurer||Ali Reza Shafiei|
|Trade and Marketing Manager||Hamidreza Keshavarzian|
|Supreme Advisor||Morteza Lachiani|
|Media and International Officer||Hamed Asfa|
|Public Relation||Hamid Bagheri|
|Academy manager||Ghasesm Zaghinejad|
|Media presenter||Siamak Ghelichkhani|
List of Sepahan recordsEdit
FIFA Club World Cup participationEdit
|FIFA Club World Cup History|
|2007||Play-off||Sepahan 3 – 1 Waitakere United||Win||Emad Mohammed 3', 4'|
|2007||Quarterfinals||Sepahan 1 – 3 Urawa Red Diamonds||Loss||Karimi 80'|
Top scorers by seasonEdit
|Season||Player||in League||Player||in whole season|
|2003–04||Rasoul Khatibi||8||Rasoul Khatibi||14|
|2004–05||Rasoul Khatibi||14||Rasoul Khatibi||17|
|2005–06||Rasoul Khatibi||10||Rasoul Khatibi||11|
|2006–07||Emad Mohammed Ridha||9||Emad Mohammed Ridha||12|
|2007–08||Mahmoud Karimi||9||Mahmoud Karimi||13|
|2008–09||Emad Mohammed Ridha||14||Emad Mohammed Ridha||16|
|2009–10||Emad Mohammed Ridha||19||Ibrahima Touré||20|
|2010–11||Ibrahima Touré||18||Ibrahima Touré||24|
|2011–12||Emad Mohammed Ridha||9||Bruno Correa||12|
|2012–13||Mohammad Reza Khalatbari||13||Xhevahir Sukaj||16|
|2013–14||Mehdi Sharifi||8||Mehdi Sharifi||12|
|2014–15||Mehdi Sharifi||12||Mehdi Sharifi||12|
|2015–16|| Mohammad Reza Khalatbari
|4|| Luciano Chimba
|2016–17|| Mehrdad Mohammadi
|7|| Mehrdad Mohammadi
|2017–18||Sasan Ansari||11||Sasan Ansari||11|
Players on international cupsEdit
Shirt sponsors and manufacturersEdit
|Period||Kit Manufacturer||Shirt Sponsor|
|2007–08||Uhlsport||Mobarakeh Steel Company|
|2017–18||Peak||Mobarakeh Steel Company / Snapp|
|2018–19||Start||Mobarakeh Steel Company / Taban Air / Hamrah-e-Avval|
- Lastkick.com Archived 3 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- ورزش3: دستیاران قلعهنویی در سپاهان مشخص شدند
- تاریخچه باشگاه سپاهان اصفهان
- تاریخچه دیدارهای سپاهان و استقلال در تهران
- تاریخچه دیدارهای سپاهان و استقلال در اصفهان