Football’s world governing body FIFA wrote to the Iranian football federation on Wednesday to ask for answers over alleged punishments meted out to several of their players for wearing wristbands reflecting their support for opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Six of them wore the green wristbands during the 2010 World Cup qualifier 1-1 draw with South Korea last week, including two of their icons Ali Karimi and skipper Mehdi Mahdavikia.
It has been reported, largely by English television station Channel Four News on Tuesday and the left leaning Guardian newspaper on Wednesday that they had been told they would never play for their country again because of their stance.
A FIFA spokesperson told AFP on Wednesday that they had written a letter asking for more information.
“We wrote a letter to the Iranian Federation to ask for some answers and clarification regarding the press reports over what happened to some of the Iranian players following the qualifier with South Korea on June 17,” the spokesperson said.
Iran has refused to overturn the results of the controversial presidential poll which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected despite a wave of public demonstrations and complaints that the June 12 election was rigged.
However, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who has ruled over the Islamic republic for 20 years – has extended by five days a Wednesday deadline to examine vote complaints.
The authorities have also intensified a crackdown on Mousavi, with the arrest of 25 staff at his newspaper and vitriolic attacks from the hardline press.
Another defeated candidate, former Revolutionary Guards chief Mohsen Rezai, has withdrawn his protest about election irregularities, in a blow to the opposition.
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