Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Ayatollah Forbids Coed Soccer

Sadly, this was the closest that Farah, Atefeha, and their friends would get to the pitch.

Every once in a while we need to be reminded of how easy we have it here in the United States. For example, on Friday nights I play rec league soccer in an Over-30 Coed league. After the matches (which my team dominates, of course), I very rarely fear being arrested (unless we go out drinking afterwards) or fined several thousand dollars. Life in Iran, however, is somewhat different.

Last week top Iranian club Esteghlal scheduled a friendly match between its female club team and its male youth club team. The match was played at Marqoobkar stadium and officiated by club employees, with the youth club winning 7-0.

Now, despite the fact that President Ahmadinejad has said that it is acceptable for women to attend soccer games (something which the Ayatollah has said is completely unacceptable), virtually no one has ever even hinted that it was permissible for men and women to play against each other. In fact, religious rules in Iran forbid physical contact between unrelated males and females.

So, once they heard about this lascivious match, most people weren't too happy. In the end, 4 people were fined and suspended. Mohammad Khorramgah, who is the club's technical manager, was suspended for a year and fined$5,000. Saeedeh Pournader, the women's team head coach, was suspended for a year (but not fined? perhaps she doesn't earn any money in her position). The youth team's head coach, Mostafa Ardestani, earned himself a six-month suspension and a $2,000 fine. Ali Reza Mansourian, the manager of the club's soccer academy, was only given a written rebuke but still received a fine of $5,000.

Given the alternatives I would think these individuals feel that they got off lightly.


Mike Georger said...

Ayatollah Assahola strikes again!

Ibracadabra said...

Judging by my former Coed league experience, I have to seriously consider the fact that sometimes, I'd probably rather be fined and suspended in Iran than play in in an Over-30 Coed league. Pussycake.

The NY Kid said...

Oh snap!

Hey, as an old man GK, how else am I supposed to score except against competition like that?