Iran Football Federation fined over ‘religious manifestations’
FIFA rules ban political, religious or commercial messages at international matches
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has levied a fine of thousands of dollars on the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran over “several religious manifestations” during the third round of the 2018 World Cup qualifier against South Korea.
On Thursday, the international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer announced in a statement that Iran broke the rules in the Group A fixture at Tehran's Azadi Stadium on October 11, and had to pay 45,000 Swiss francs (equal to $46,200) for the misconduct.
The statement read that Iran’s football federation had asked fans to sing religious chants and wear black for the match, which was held in a mournful atmosphere on Tasu’a, the eve of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam.
FIFA noted that a “religious ceremony was organized 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.
Team Melli notched up a 1-0 win over the Taeguk Warriors at the end of the contest.
Iran's 26-year-old Ramin Rezaeian penetrated the visitor's penalty area in the 25th minute, and volleyed the ball to professional forward Sardar Azmoun, who plays as a striker for FC Rostov in the Russian Premier League.
Azmoun did not hesitate and cracked a shot to place the ball into the corner of South Korea' net and seal the hosts’ victory.
Earlier, Iranian authorities had tried to reschedule the Tehran game. Their request to advance the fixture was, however, dismissed by FIFA on the grounds that South Korean players would not have enough time to refresh after their previous match against Qatar.
On October 7, Tehran interim Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani stated that the match must uphold "religious norms" in connection with Tasu’a ceremonies.
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the head of Iran’s Society of Seminary Teachers in the holy city of Qom, had even called for the cancellation of the fixture.