Iran 'Retires' Soccer Players Over Protest

Banned for life for wristbands showing Mousavi support
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 23, 2009 1:18 PM CDT
Iran's national soccer team poses during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Asia group 2 qualifying soccer match against South Korea at Seoul World Cup Stadium, June 17, 2009.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Iran has barred four of its national soccer players from the field for life after they wore green wristbands during a match last week in apparent support of opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, an Iranian pro-government newspaper said. Six players wore the bands; most took them off at halftime, the Guardian notes.

None of the team members got their passports back when they came home after playing South Korea; they are reportedly not permitted to talk to the press. Iranian media have tied the display to this weekend’s arrest of an opposition politician and former head of the country’s soccer governing body. A website said the politician bribed the players to wear the color.