Brazilian Club Team to Iran: Please Don’t Let Your National Pride Interfere with the Hate We Feel for Our Biggest Rival

The Iranian Men’s National Team qualified for the World Cup by finishing at the top of their group during Asian qualifying.  Iran will be playing in Group F with Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Nigeria.  Along with Argentina, who are sure to get through to the knock-out round, Iran stands a fair chance of advancing out of group play.  Iran’s colors, which I promise are a significant part of this story, are red, white, and green.

When teams go to the World Cup, they choose a “home base,” a place where the team can train and feel at home.  Often, these home bases are the training facilities of local club teams.  Iran has set up their home base at the training facilities of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, better known simply as Corinthians.  Corinthians is currently the biggest club team in Brazil.  They boast the most fans, have recently won a string of major titles–including both the Copa Libertadores (South American Club Championship) and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2012, and have a beautiful new stadium that will host six World Cup matches, including the opener between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday.  Corinthians is a force to be reckoned with.  Their nickname, “O Timão,” meaning “the big” or “the great team,” even speaks to the grandeur with which their fans see them.

Other than being, perhaps, the biggest club in South America, Corinthians and its fans are known for being particularly passionate.  This passion for all things Corinthians, however, reached a level of ridiculousness this week that deserves to be mentioned.  Corinthians’ biggest rival is Palmeiras, a club that I wrote about here Palmeiras‘ nickname is “O Verdão,” meaning “the Big Green.”  Corinthians hates the color green.  In fact, the club hates it so much that they tried, and failed, to get FIFA to ban its use on Corinthians’ uniforms during the FIFA Club World Cup.  Clubs were required to wear a predominantly-green logo for “Football for Hope” in the tournament that year.

All of this green hate has spilled over into Iran’s use of Corinthians’ practice facilities.  Now, Iran’s home kits are white with red and green trim.  Iran’s away jerseys are red with green and white trim.  Apparently, however, Iran’s practice kits are green.  You can see where this is going, right?  According to Fox Sports Brazil, Corinthians has required that Iran forego the use of their green practice kits while using Corinthians’ facilities in order to avoid the use of their rivals’ colors.  Umm, what?  Shouldn’t Corinthians have looked into Iran’s colors before agreeing to allow the team to use their facilities?  In response, Palmeiras fans have called for the extension of an invitation to the Iranian National Team to use Palmeiras’ facilities where, obviously, the use of a green shirt will not be a problem.  One commentator in the media has suggested that Corinthians should request that the grass at their facility be painted blue.  Hey!  That’s been done before!

However this turns out, wishes Iran all the best in the World Cup.