Friday, November 4, 2011

Three Sucky Things About Soccer in Iran


A professional Iranian soccer player groped his teammate’s butt earlier this week during a team goal celebration. Who cares, right? What makes this news is that each player involved has been fined $40,000 for this ‘inappropriate’ behaviour, could go to prison for two months, and receive 74 public lashes on the soccer field. They’ve also both been banned from playing indefinitely. In a country where ‘chastity squads’ can impose fines for things like wearing nail polish, I guess it’s not that surprising. How burned is the guy who got groped though? He didn’t do anything – except, I suppose, have a butt- and he’s still on the hook for all this. Seriously tough break.


Did you know that Iranian women are forbidden to attend soccer games? They’re banned from both stadiums and movie theatres that show matches. From what I can understand, the rationale is that the environment is too unseemly for women, and besides, it is argued, they wouldn’t be able to see anything anyway, since in public women have to ‘lower their gaze’. On occasion, women have insisted on being allowed to watch a match by blocking the entrances, demanding to be let in—and they’ve had modest success, although one woman I read about had her leg broken in the melee when she tried it in 2005. Holy crap. That’s a lot to endure just to see some ass grabbing.


The Iranian women’s national soccer team was shut out of competition for the Women’s World Cup in 2012 because the outfits they must wear to satisfy their country’s Islamic standards are considered too religious for FIFA. Could this not have been discussed before they attended a serious six month training camp and flew to London to play? Many Iranian women left the soccer field in tears during this fiasco. I can’t say I wouldn’t have reacted the same way, although in part I might have cried because I was embarrassed to be dressed like a Q-tip. (Sorry ladies, no disrespect. Go do your religious thing, it’s cool with me-- and take comfort in the fact that you ladies in white could kick my butt on the soccer field.)

Shall we sum up? In Iran, women can’t play or watch soccer, and men who do play, sometimes have fun with it and tease each other, only to be punished severely. Do they realize that when you break it down, it’s just a bunch of people kicking around a polka dotted ball? How do officials decide what’s ‘inappropriate’? How do they feel about the impression they’re making on the rest of the world with severe punishments like public lashings? Perhaps Iranian officials should be looking at the bigger picture. Or as one commenter said: “A muscular, athletic guy getting whipped in a men-only environment? Nope, nothing gay about that.”

1 comment:

  1. it's a slippery slope, u let them play kick ball and all of a sudden they get uppity and start thinking they have rights and stuff... maybe even try to vote.. the horror