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Principale » Iran bars 2 players from national team after playing Israelis

Iran bars 2 players from national team after playing Israelis

12 Août 2017

The Iranian government does not recognize the state of Israel, and has no official ties with the country, which Iranian officials repeatedly have vowed to destroy.

Midfielders Haji Safi and Masoud Shojaei have been axed from the Iranian national team after playing for their Greek club side against Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv.

"Shojaei and Haji Safi have no place in Iran's national football team anymore because they crossed the country's red line", Davarzani told state television.

Prominent football players and many ordinary Iranians have backed the two players on social media, saying they had no choice but to play the match.

But Vali Nasr, a well-known Iran-born Middle East analyst and scholar, argued the Iranian players were actually bound contractually to play against the Israeli athletes as part of their engagement for the Greek team, and therefore should not be punished by Iran.

The move prompted thousands of speakers of Persian, including Iranians living in the Islamic Republic or beyond, to call on the FIFA soccer federation to impose sanctions on Iran for the move, according to Omid Memarian, A New York-based journalist.

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But both played the full 90 minutes in the August 4 match in Greece, which their team lost, 1-0.

FIFA could fine Iran for imposing the ban, since it strictly prohibits mixing politics with global football.

"What is the fuss?"

Rouhani, who campaigned on expanding personal freedoms and improving relations with the West, has frustrated supporters by failing to appoint any women to his Cabinet - an apparent show of deference to the conservative clerics who are the custodians of the nation's theocracy.

After Iran's victory over Uzbekistan in June in Tehran in front of 60,000 men, Mr. Shojaei said, "They should set a course that women are also allowed to come to stadiums in the future". The country has already qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but Shojaei and Haji Safi would've been invaluable as Iran looks to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time next summer in Russian Federation.

Iran bars 2 players from national team after playing Israelis