The Iranian Rugby Association operates the Iranian Rugby League, which is overseen by the “Sport for All” Federation. Rugby holds limited popularity in Iran, with its origins tracing back to informal military physical education prior to the Islamic revolution. From 1979 to 1997, little effort was made to develop the sport. However, in 1997, Bijan Safaei and a group of Physical Education students took the initiative to start Rugby at the Enghelab Sport Complex in Tehran, using old balls dating back to 1945 and 1960.
After two years of activity, in 2000, Alireza Fazlollah Arabi, a physical education student, collaborated with Dr. Zolfagharian, the head of the Baseball Federation at that time, to establish the Rugby committee within the federation. Unfortunately, political interference in sports in the Islamic Republic of Iran led to Rugby being labeled as American Football, creating political tensions with the USA. As a result, the authorities showed little interest and refused to form a national team for the sport.
However, Alireza Fazlollah Arabi’s persistent efforts gradually changed the perception of sports authorities and religious leaders regarding Rugby, leading to the formation of an independent national team. In 2007, the Rugby Federation was established as an independent entity. In 2011, for unknown reasons, the Rugby Federation transitioned to the Rugby Association and currently operates under the supervision of the Iran Federation of Sports Associations.
At present, more than 1,000 male and female athletes across 10 Iranian provinces actively participate in Rugby, showcasing the growing engagement with the sport.