Sheik Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the vice president of the Bahrain Football Association, confirmed that three Bahraini national team players have been
detained and six clubs from mostly Shiite villages -- two from the top-level league -- have stopped playing because of "pressure from Shiite political groups." These moves follow widespread
anti-government protests that began Feb. 14 and left 30 people dead.
"Some of the clubs during the problems refrained from participating," Al Khalifa said. "We haven't suspended anyone. They are just not participating. There is a fine and punishment, of course."
Mohammed al-Maskati, president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, said the clubs had stopped playing because of the dangerous conditions and out of respect for the deaths of protesters, but the clubs were then suspended for two years and fined $20,000 when they were ready to resume playing.