The wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has exerted pressure on the Ministry of Sports and Youth and several sports federations to organize next month an international event featuring competitions in 13 disciplines, IranWire reports.
After organizing the expensive International Congress of Influential Women in Tehran in January, Jamileh Alamolhoda is now working to set up a women's sports festival called Nowruzgan, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
The sources said that 26 billion tomans, or around $456,000, have been allocated for the event set to take place in Tehran from March 9 to 14 with participation of teams coming from countries that enjoy good relations with the Islamic Republic.
The allocated financial resources shall be spent entirely, regardless of the level of foreign participation, they said.
So far, only Thailand and Tajikistan have confirmed their participation in the women's futsal tournament.
The festival is being organized as Iranian sports organizations are in dramatic financial difficulties.
The football clubs Esteghlal and Persepolis are facing suspension by the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA due to outstanding debts.
It remains unclear how many athletes will participate, and how many of them will wear a hijab, which is mandatory in Iran.
Officials of the Ministry of Sports and members of the festival’s working group disagree about whether volleyball should be included in the competitions because of the “appearance” of foreign players.
The matches will not be televised live. Only the opening and closing ceremonies, press conferences with athletes and trophy ceremony will be recorded and shown in video form.
Alamolhaoda hosted the First International Congress of Influential Women from January 20 to 24.
According to media reports, the event cost 21 billion tomans ($386,000) to organize, and published documents showed that 20,000 euros ($21,200) were paid to seven participants.
It had been announced that the wives of heads of state and government, ministers, parliamentarians, scientists and entrepreneurs from 58 countries would attend, but only a few made the trip to Tehran, including the wives of the Armenian, Kyrgyz and Serbian presidents.