Posted 22 марта 2023,, 08:03

Published 22 марта 2023,, 08:03

Modified 22 марта 2023,, 08:13

Updated 22 марта 2023,, 08:13

The cup was presented personally by the Shah: 79 years ago, Soviet football first met with Iranian

The cup was presented personally by the Shah: 79 years ago, Soviet football first met with Iranian

22 марта 2023, 08:03
In one of the games of Soviet football players at the tournament for the Shah of Iran Cup , the anthem of the USSR was played for the first time.

As you know, a friendly football match between the national teams of Iran and Russia will be held in Tehran on March 23. It is curious that right now the Russian Center "Holocaust" is preparing for publication the book "Football. War. The Holocaust", dedicated, among other things, to the historical games of football players of the two countries among themselves. Novye Izvestia offers readers one of its chapters.

Ilya Altman

Today it is appropriate to recall the short but vivid history of the games of Soviet and Iranian football players in the 20s-40s of the last century.

It concerns the first football contacts between our countries. It was with a visit to Baku in the autumn of 1926 that the first international matches of Iranian clubs began (all the games were won by Azerbaijanis). The next matches took place almost 20 years later.

They are indirectly connected with the conference of the heads of government of the three allied powers - the USSR, the USA and Great Britain, which took place in the Iranian capital on November 28 – December 1, 1943. The security of the conference participants was provided by the 131st separate Motorized rifle Regiment of the NKVD. Its commander was appointed Hero of the Soviet Union, Lieutenant Colonel Nikita Fadeyevich Kaymanov.

In 1944 and 1945, the football team of the regiment played 34 friendly matches with the leading Iranian teams: Sharkh, Malli, Inauri, Turan, Darai. The teams of Tehran, the 4th Army, and a number of garrisons were among the rivals. We will especially note the meetings with rivals representing national communities: the Jewish "Kurosh" and the Armenian "Sport". One of the matches was special: the opponent was the team of British troops in Iran. Out of 34 meetings, the Soviet servicemen won 30, drew two and lost only two ("Malli" 1:2, "Turan" 2:3). The total difference of goals scored and conceded - 151-31 - clearly emphasized the strength of our team. A number of victories were won with a crushing score: with the national team of the Karaj garrison - 16:0, "Sharh" - 12:0, "Jan" - 9:0, the national team of Tehran - 7:0.

The Armenian "Sport" was also defeated with a score of 6:1. And this is despite the fact that the numerous Armenian diaspora of Iran provided the Soviet team with beautiful and practical equipment: knee-length underpants with light stripes at the bottom and sides, T-shirts with shawl collars and red stars on the right side of the chest, real cleats with spikes. The Iranian teams had almost the same football uniforms as the Soviet team. The difference was the color: the Iranians had light shorts.

And the most prestigious tournament with the participation of Soviet football players was held in the spring of 1944 . At the suggestion of the Shah of Iran, Mahomed Reza Pahlavi, it was decided to hold games of the country's leading football teams with rivals from the USSR and England. In the fight for the Shah's Cup, the team of the 131st Motorized Rifle Regiment (reinforced by future players of the USSR national team Alexei Khomich, Vsevolod Bobrov, Konstantin Beskov, Sergei Solovyov, Vladimir Grinin), professionals from the English club Arsenal, as well as two of the strongest Iranian teams - Darai and Turan met.

The cup was a large vase made of silver, richly decorated with floral patterns. Its weight was 2,950 grams, and 2,360 of them were pure silver of the 800th sample.

The games were played in a round-robin system. The tournament aroused keen interest among the population of the capital of Iran.

In the final match, two strong opponents met: the team of the 131st regiment and the English Arsenal. The only winning goal was scored against the British by our players. The name of the author of the goal has not reached us (according to some reports, it was the future famous Dynamo Moscow player and Spartak coach Konstantin Beskov).

The cup was presented to the winners by the Shah of Iran himself - Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, together with Shahina Fawzia. They congratulated each player personally. The cup from the hands of the Shah of Iran was received by the captain of our team, the famous goalkeeper Alexey Khomich. The inscription is engraved on it: "From His Majesty, Shahinshah of Iran Magomed Reza Pahlavi - to the winner of the Imperial Cup football draw between the football teams of the allies: Soviet military, British military and Iranian "Darai" and "Turan", the football team of the Red Army of the military unit of the Hero of the Soviet Union Colonel Kaymanov. Tehran 19.05.1944, The Committee of Physical Education of Iran". The cup is kept in the Central Museum of the FSB Border Troops.

In our country, they found out about this bright victory decades later - the games were covered only in the Iranian press. Several participants of the final match in Iran in the post-war years triumphantly performed as part of the Dynamo Moscow team on a tour of the UK.

The success in the friendly games and the invitation from the Iranian Friendship Society with the USSR inspired the chairman of the All-Union Sports Committee Vasily Snegov to the idea of sending the Soviet national team to Iran for the friendly games. Since the USSR championship was not held, and it was not easy to gather the strongest players, and no one could guarantee a positive result, important for the prestige of the country, they offered to send Baku neighbors with a return visit. Then the decision was overplayed and the Tbilisi Dynamo team was sent with the wording that it would take them much less time to acclimatize in the highlands. We were preparing for the trip very seriously: we agreed to play with an interval of four days, not two or three, as the Iranians suggested; to meet stronger opponents first; to send more players than the Iranians were ready to accept (as a result, not 18, but 25 people flew); appointment of a referee for the decisive match; equipment participants (individual costumes were sewn at the last moment).

The games with the national team of the cities of Iran (in fact, the second national team of the country) and with the national team of Tehran (in fact, the national team of Iran) were held respectively on October 20 and 27, 1944.

It is noteworthy that for the first time the new anthem of the USSR, which replaced the "International", was played at international competitions at the first game of the Soviet team. In both games, the Soviet football players won, and even with a crushing score: 5-1 and 4-0.

Ilya Altman, Co-Chairman of the Holocaust Center, Professor at RSUH