Iran has arrested a former worldwide soccer participant of Kurdish origin who has strongly supported the protests which have rocked the nation since September, information companies mentioned.
Voria Ghafouri, an outspoken determine who appeared 28 occasions for Iran up till 2019, was arrested after a membership coaching session over accusations that he unfold “propaganda” in opposition to the Islamic republic, the Fars information company reported.
He is among the most outstanding figures arrested in a widescale crackdown on protests, amid intense scrutiny on the conduct of the nationwide crew on the World Cup in Qatar.
The crew avoided singing the nationwide anthem at their first match in opposition to England on Monday.
Watch the world’s greatest footballers each week with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. LIVE protection from Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Carabao Cup, EFL & SPFL. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Led by captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh, the Iranian gamers stood impassively as their anthem rang out earlier than their opening match of the event in opposition to England within the Qatari capital Doha. The crew’s courageous show received reward from all over the world.
But concern can also be rising over the extent of the authorities’ crackdown within the western Kurdish areas of Iran from which Ghafouri hails, with rights teams saying dozens have been killed during the last week alone.
Alireza Beiranvand, Morteza Pouraliganji and Morteza Pouraliganji of Iran line up for the nationwide anthem. Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images.Source: Getty ImagesIranian gamers make a press release. Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images.Source: Getty Images
Ghafouri was detained after a coaching session together with his membership Foolad Khuzestan on expenses of getting “tarnished the fame of the nationwide crew and unfold propaganda in opposition to the state”, the Fars new company mentioned.
Kurdish-focused rights group Hengaw, based mostly in Norway, additionally mentioned he had been arrested, posting an image of the participant in conventional Kurdish costume.
Former Iranian worldwide footballer Ali Karimi, one other outspoken supporter of the protests, additionally posted the identical picture of Ghafouri on his Twitter account in help of the participant.
“For the honourable Voria,” he wrote.
Ghafouri, 35, was listed as a member of Iran’s 2018 World Cup squad however was not named within the remaining lineup enjoying at this yr’s World Cup in Qatar.
Originally from the Kurdish-populated metropolis of Sanandaj in western Iran, Ghafouri had posted a photograph of himself on Instagram in conventional Kurdish costume.
Iran has seen greater than two months of demonstrations sparked by the demise in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, herself of Kurdish origin, after she was arrested for an alleged breach of the nation’s strict costume code for ladies.
Masoud Shojaei of Iran (no 7) celebrates with Vorya Ghafouri (no 11) after scoring in opposition to Australia in Melbourne. Picture: George Salpigtidis.Source: News Corp Australia
The protests have swelled right into a broad motion in opposition to the ruling theocracy. Ghafouri had on his social media accounts strongly backed the protests and in addition reportedly visited the Kurdish-populated areas of Iran to specific solidarity with households of the victims of the crackdown.
He received specific reward for visiting the younger daughter of a girl who had been killed within the protests and giving her a pill as a present.
“Voria stood behind his folks and paid for it. We also needs to stand behind him and never let him be alone,” tweeted US-based dissident Masih Alinejad.
Ghafouri was previously the captain of Iran’s main membership Esteghlal earlier than his contract was terminated and he moved to Foolad Khuzestan.
Many followers steered the ending of his profession with Esteghlal was revenge for talking out in help of earlier protests that erupted this summer time. Others argued that in his mid-30s Ghafouri was already too outdated for the Iranian high flight.
Voria Ghafouri performs within the AFC Champions League. Photo by AFP.Source: AFP
Ghafouri is just not the primary massive sports activities identify to have been caught up within the crackdown.
International footballer Hossein Mahini was arrested in October for supporting the protests however was later launched.
The worldwide aspect received plaudits overseas for his or her refusal to sing the anthem on the match on Monday.
But many Iranians have criticised the crew for assembly President Ebrahim Raisi simply earlier than leaving for Qatar because the protests raged.
“They gamers out not our enemies,” Iran’s Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz this week wrote on Instagram in response to the anger.
After dropping 6-2 to England, Team Melli’s subsequent match is in opposition to Wales on Friday.
Stay forward of the punting pack with CODE Bet. Click right here for all the most recent World Cup betting previews and odds comparisons.
Leave a Reply