Iran condemns its soccer players for match with Israeli team

Updated: August 4, 2017, 8:54 AM ET
Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian semi-official Fars news agency says the country's soccer federation is condemning two Iranians who play for a Greek team for participating in a match against an Israeli team.

The Friday report says the federation "strongly condemns" the participation of Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi in a match for Greece's Panionios against Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv a day earlier in Greece.

Israel and Iran are bitter adversaries and traditionally, Iranian athletes refrain from playing Israelis and consider it taboo. Iran's government usually rewards such behavior.

The statement said the federation is reviewing the case and will make a final decision after speaking with both players. At a previous match against Maccabi in Tel Aviv, both refused to play.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports militant groups against it.

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.