FIFA investigates Iran’s ban of two players for playing against Israeli club

FIFA has demanded Iran to provide further information on a decision to ban two players from the national team after they played against an Israeli side for their Greek club.

Iran captain Masoud Shojaei and midfielder Ehsan Haji Safi each played in the home leg of the third-round qualifier between their home team Panionios and Maccabi Tel Aviv last week.

That violated Iran’s longstanding prohibition on athletes facing opponents from Israel, the country that Iranian government does not recognize and has no official ties.

In its regulations, FIFA states that “each member association shall manage its affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties”.

“We are currently monitoring the matter and will request additional information from the Iran Football Federation,” said a FIFA spokesperson in an emailed statement to Reuters. “We have no further comment for the time being.”

As reported by Iran Front Page, Iran Football Federation (IFF), in a letter to FIFA on Saturday night, rejected the media reports that it has banned captain Masoud Shojaie and Ehsan Hajsafi from the national team duties.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Sports Minister Massoud Soltanifar condemned the move by the two players but stressed that the football federation is investigating the issue.

The Sports Ministry is going to make a decision after receiving full details of the incident and listening to the players’ explanations.