Iran Bans Soccer Players For Life For Wearing Green Wrist Bans in Solidarity with Protestors

180px-Soccer_goalkeeperSome of Iran’s most famous football (soccer) players have been banned for life due to their courageous show of solidarity with protesters in the recent World Cup games. The players wore green wrist bans and four refused to take off the bands at half-time when told to do so by the government or face punishment.

The four players – Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka’abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 – have been “retired” from the sport by the authoritarian regime. Two other players agreed to take off the wrist bans at halftime and will not face a ban. Initially, The team’s chief administrative officer and resident government hack, Mansour Pourhiedari, claimed the wristbands had nothing to do with the protests and were a tribute to a revered Shia figure. Now, the government-dominated media is reporting that the players were bribed to wear the wristbands by Mohsen Safayi Farahani, who headed the country’s football governing body under the former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami. He is one of several dozen opposition politicians, intellectuals and journalists to have been detained. Farahani has been arrested with other opposition figures as the government continues its deadly crackdown on protesters.

The best response from the international community is to find positions for these players on other teams and to try to secure their immigration to the West.

This move against these athletes comes as the government is actively trying to either erase memory of Neda Soltan, a martyr of the movement, or claim that her death was “staged,” here.

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4 thoughts on “Iran Bans Soccer Players For Life For Wearing Green Wrist Bans in Solidarity with Protestors”

  1. AY I don’t think you can compare the Obama administration with that of Ahmadinejad.I don’t see many posts by you. I hope you are okay. Thank you for helping me.

  2. This was so inspiring to see. I hope that these men are not subjected to any forms of cruelty for their heroic show of support for free and fair elections.

  3. Your comment that the international community find a place for these players and that they should immigrate to the west does not really make sense because there is a difference between international play and club play and some of these players already play club ball in the west.

    For international play, you are generally allowed to choose a single country to play for and that decision cannot be reversed. These four players are Iranian citizens and have appeared for Iran. It is highly unlikely that FIFA would allow them to play for another country in the future.

    With respect to club play, some of these players already play in the west.

    Mehdi Mahdavikia currently plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga.

    Vahid Hashemian Korbekandi currently plays for VfL Bochum in the German Bundesliga

    Ali Karimi used to play for Bayern Munich in Germany.

  4. Well don’t we punish or prosecute people for fictitious crimes when we do not agree with them anymore? So what do you expect from them?

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