Iranian top footballer Ghafouri arrested - sign to international at the World Cup in Qatar?
Created: 11/26/2022, 10:57 p.m
By: Bedrettin Bölükbasi
Iranian soccer player Voria Ghafouri.
(Archive image) © AFP
In Iran, a soccer player was arrested amid demonstrations.
This is also interpreted as a sign to the national players at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Munich – At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the game between Iran and England on Monday (November 21) was eagerly awaited.
It wasn't just about the sporting aspect.
But primarily about whether the Iranian eleven would show solidarity with the demonstrations in their homeland.
In fact, she did: none of the eleven men sang along with the national anthem.
Although they did sing the anthem in the second game against Wales, the action against England may not have endeared them to the Iranian leaders.
As speculation rages on about possible consequences, the regime may have given a first indication of what will happen to players who resist.
Soccer player Voria Ghafouri was arrested on propaganda charges.
Iran demonstrations: Regime arrests footballers for 'anti-state propaganda'
The 35-year-old Ghafouri, who comes from the predominantly Kurdish city of Sanandaj in western Iran, is a national player but not part of the Iranian World Cup squad.
The footballer, who is currently under contract with Iranian club Foolad Khuzestan, was even once the captain of the famous Tehran club Esteghlal.
According to the Fars news agency, which is under the influence of the Revolutionary Guards, Ghafouri was arrested after training with his club for "smearing the reputation of the national team and spreading anti-state propaganda".
According to the British newspaper
, Ghafouri had apparently been in the sights of pro-regime politicians and the political leadership itself for a long time. For example, the supreme religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is said to have said: "Some people who care about the peace and security of the Those who benefit from the country and enjoy their work and their favorite sport bite the hand that feeds them.” Ministers have also accused Ghafouri of being a “Kurdish separatist,” the newspaper said.
Message to Iranian footballers at the World Cup in Qatar?
– Footballer Ghafouri arrested
In fact, Ghafouri's support for the demos is likely to be a thorn in the side of the regime - after all, he is a prominent figure.
After police violence against demonstrators in his city, he visited the injured.
In Iran it is forbidden for women to watch football matches.
Ghafouri is actively against it.
In 2019, after a woman named Sahar Khodajari set herself on fire to avoid imprisonment for violating the ban, Ghafouri gave out blue jerseys in her memory.
His activism is also making itself felt on social media.
He doesn't mince his words there.
"As a footballer, I feel ashamed to play at a time when our mothers and sisters are banned from entering stadiums,"
quoted him as saying from an Instagram post.
On Twitter he is said to have recently campaigned for an end to the violence against the Kurdish demonstrators.