Iran’s soccer federation on Friday condemned two Iranians who play for a Greek team for participating in a match against an Israeli team, The Associated Press reported.
The federation said it “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, it said in a statement quoted in Iranian media.
On its Farsi-language Twitter account, Israel’s foreign ministry praised the players for ignoring what is considered a taboo in Iran by playing against the Israelis. Maccabi won the UEFA Europa League match 1-0.
The Iranian federation said it is reviewing the case and will make a final decision after speaking with both players who in the past have also played for the national soccer team. The two may now be banned from playing on that team again, noted AP.
They had both refused to play a previous match against Maccabi in Tel Aviv.
This past February, a 15-year-old Iranian chess player was banned from the national team after he played against an Israeli opponent at an international chess event.
In 2011, Iranian chessmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami was expelled from an international chess tournament after refusing to play an Israeli opponent.
Last year, an Iranian refused to compete against an Israeli at a chess tournament in Switzerland in order to reject the existence of "the Zionist state".
In 2010, an Iranian contestant withdrew from a Taekwondo match against Israel’s Gili Haimovitz, who won a gold medal by default.
In 2012, Iranian athletes announced their intention to boycott competitions against Israelis at the London Olympics.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)