The Five Billion Person Party

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Green wrist bands = game over

Posted by steigs on June 23, 2009

During these days of turmoil in Iran, six Iranian national teamers wore green wristbands during their recent World Cup qualifier against South Korea in Seoul (a 1-1 tie).  A high profile way to show support for those demonstrating against the apparently rigged election.  After all, Iranian tv had to show the qualifier, right?

Knew there’d be some payback didn’t you?  The Guardian:

According to the pro-government newspaper Iran, four players – Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka’abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 – have been “retired” from the sport after their gesture in last Wednesday’s match against South Korea in Seoul.

They were among six players who took to the field wearing wristbands in the colour of the defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, which has been adopted by demonstrators who believe the 12 June election was stolen.

Most of the players obeyed instructions to remove the armwear at half-time, but Mahdavikia wore his green captain’s armband for the entire match. The four are also said to have been banned from giving media interviews.

The fate of the other two players who wore the wristbands is unknown. None of the team members were given back their passports upon returning to Tehran after the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw – a result that ended Iran’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament.

I’d like to see other footballers wear green wristbands in solidarity with their courageous fellow players.  Be a great gesture at the Confederations Cup, particularly given the resonance of South Africa as an example for peaceful political evolution.

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