Qatar: Soccer Legend's 'Idolatrous' Headbutt Statue Removed

Host of the 2022 World Cup has statue of soccer star's infamous yet iconic headbutting incident removed to comply with Islamic law.

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Ari Yashar,

Illustration: Soccer
Illustration: Soccer
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A five meter (16 ft) bronze statue of French soccer star Zinedine Zidane's famous headbutt was taken down Thursday from the Corniche in Doha, Qatar, just weeks after being installed.

Qatar is set to be the host for the 2022 World Cup. 

The controversial statue depicts Zidane's headbutt of Italy's Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup for which he was sent off. France went on to lose the final in a penalty shootout.

BBC reports the statue, created by Algerian-born French artist Abel Abdessemed in 2012, will be housed in the Arab Museum of Modern Art.

Evidently Islamic law lies behind the conservative Gulf state's decision, as religious law forbids statues of humans in order to avoid idolatry.

A large reaction on social media such as Twitter met the statue's installation, with BBC noting that one user opined "it is sad that our youth see in this art and modernity. Our children do not differentiate between the right and the wrong, or the haram [prohibited] and the halal [permissible]."

Other reactions remarked that it was wrong to honor Zidane's unsporting behavior.