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

MOST COMMENTED

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
Report: Barca's Vermaelen May Need Surgery     
Goal.com reports that Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen could require surgery to cure the hamstring injury that ...
Messi's Top Ten Records    
Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who became La Liga's all-time leading scorer (253 goals) following his hat ...
Rodgers Admits His Future Could be in Doubt     
Brendan Rodgers admitted that he could be fired after Liverpool slumped to a fourth successive defeat ...
Arsenal Investor Criticizes Wenger     
Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal's second largest shareholder after American Stan Kroenke, on Monday launched a stunning criticism ...
Referee Stark Admits Error Over Reus Challenge     
German referee Wolfgang Stark admitted that he made a mistake by not sending off Paderborn's Marvin ...
Report: Ronaldo Outscoring Many of Europe's Biggest Clubs    
With two more goals in the 4-0 win at Eibar on Saturday, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo ...
High school vs. club debate rages in New Jersey    
High school vs. club has long been an issue on the boys side, culminating with the ...
Man United's Falcao Out Two Weeks    
Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao will be out for another two weeks with a "new injury", ...
Arsenal's Injury Woes Ahead of Man United Clash     
While much has been made of the injury crisis facing Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal, ...
Bolton Coach Fumes at Klinsmann    
Bolton Wanderers coach Neil Lennon on Friday slammed USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann for what he called ...
>> Section 2 Around the Net Archives