Iranian football federation protests FIFA’s anti-Iran decision

Tehran, Nov 12 (IANS) A top Iranian football official said on Saturday that the Islamic republic has registered a formal protest with the international governing body of football (FIFA) over its recent decision to impose a fine of thousands of dollars on the Iranian football federation.

Iran formally lodged a protest with FIFA over its penalty of $46,200 for what it called the “religious manifestations” during a 2018 World Cup qualifier game between Iran and South Korea at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on October 11, said Ali Kaffashian, the vice-president of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, reports Xinhua.

“We have clarified in our protest that the Iranian spectators’ actions during the match were all out of their religious and cultural beliefs, and not against FIFA directives. We have not paid the fine yet, waiting to see where our protest leads to,” Kaffashian was quoted as saying by Pess V.

On November 3, FIFA said in a statement that Iran broke the rules in the Group A fixture at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on October 11, and has to pay 45,000 Swiss francs ($46,200) for the misconduct.

Iran’s football federation had asked fans to sing religious chants and be clad in black for the match held on a mourning occasion, according to the statement.

FIFA also noted that a “religious ceremony was organised before the game and at halftime” and that Iranian officials made “use of a drone during the ceremony.”

FIFA rules ban political, religious or commercial messages at international matches.

In the match on October 11, Iran defeated South Korea 1-0 in the Group A of Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

–IANS

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