SportsIran goalie faces fines, ban over brief fan hug

Iran goalie faces fines, ban over brief fan hug

Hossein Hosseini hugged a fan after the end of the match.
Hossein Hosseini hugged a fan after the end of the match.
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2:11 PM EDT, April 24, 2024

Hossein Hosseini is finding himself in increasingly hot water. He was initially fined and subsequently faced disqualification—all stemming from a brief hug with a fan.

The controversy surrounding the 31-year-old goalkeeper of the Iran national team has been unfolding for more than a week. Hosseini embraced a female fan who dashed onto the field following a match. His response, though not initiated by him, was a mere polite reaction to the woman's gesture, lasting just two or three seconds.

In Iran, any public interaction between men and women who are not relatives is forbidden. It wasn't until 2019, after pressure from FIFA, Iranian women were permitted to attend a stadium for a national team game against Cambodia.

The football federation reprimanded Hossein Hosseini, fining him an equivalent of $4,760 for the hug and his argumentative reaction. The goalkeeper plays for the Tehran Esteghlal club.

The ordeal didn't seem to humble the Iranian representative, who then made a sarcastic remark that got him in further trouble.

In an interview, Hosseini commented with a hint of sarcasm that he'll pay it, no problem. He is glad that the disciplinary committee was so merciful and punished him within four days.

This comment led to another sanction for Hosseini—a one-game disqualification for violating Article 71 of the disciplinary code, which pertains to publicly disparaging the competition authorities.

The tension between the athlete and the league authorities continues escalating, manifesting in various penalties.

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