Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Iran's Turmoil Spills Into Soccer
Guardian UK, June 24th, 2009 3:15PM

MOST READ


Iran's political turmoil has spilled onto the soccer field. The country's authorities have reportedly dealt lifetime bans to a group of Iranian players who wore green wristbands in last Wednesday's World Cup qualifier as a symbol of protest against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election. According to the pro-government newspaper Iran, four players - Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka'abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 - are retiring, but speculation is that they are being banned for their gesture in the match against South Korea.

The green wristbands, adopted by demonstrators who believe the June 12 election corrupt, showed symbolic support of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. Most of the players obeyed instructions to remove the wristbands at halftime, but Mahdavikia wore his green captain's armband for the entire match. The four are also said to have been banned from giving media interviews. The fate of the other two players who wore the wristbands is still unknown. None of the team members were returned their passports upon returning to Tehran after the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw - a result that ended Iran's hopes of qualifying for next year's tournament.

Iran's hardline media have also linked the protest to Saturday's arrest of Mohsen Safayi Farahani, who headed the country's soccer governing body under the former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami. Hezbollah, a pro-Ahmadinejad website, accused Farahani, a member of the pro-reform Islamic participation front, of bribing the players to wear the protest symbols. Incumbent Ahmadinejad, a known soccer fan, has a historical interest in the sport's affairs. In 2006, Fifa banned Iran from international competition after claims of improper interference by the government. The ban was later lifted.

 

Read the original story...


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Section 2 Around the Net
Guardiola: I Would Leave Bayern if Asked    
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola said he would be happy to leave the German giant after ...
Hazard a 'Major Doubt' for UCL Semi    
Chelsea on Friday confirmed that playmaker Eden Hazard is "major doubt" for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League ...
Neymar to Miss at Least Four Weeks     
Barcelona starlet Neymar looks set to miss the rest of the season after suffering an injury ...
Klinsmann on Altidore's Situation    
In the latest edition of Road to the Roster, U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann ...
Liverpool Players Lead PFA Awards Lists     
Liverpool trio Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard were nominated for the Professional Footballers' Association's ...
Cruyff: Barca Needs to Restore Laporta, Guardiola     
Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff thinks the best way to turn the Catalan giant's fortunes around is ...
Ronaldo Could Miss First Game vs. Bayern     
Cristiano Ronaldo watched from the stands as Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 in the Copa del ...
Report: Moyes Must Qualify for Europa League    
Manchester United coach David Moyes is understood to be under pressure from the Glazer family, the ...
Bayern Eases into German Cup Final     
Bayern Munich on Wednesday remained on course for a record 17th German Cup by crushing second ...
Pellegrini: 'Mentally Tired' City Not Out of Title Race    
Manuel Pellegrini admitted that Manchester City is mentally tired after his team could only manage a ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives