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The New Arab

FIFA fines Iran's football federation over ‘religious manifestations'

Iranian fans chanted religious slogans and wore black to a World Cup qualifying match [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2016

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Iranian fans chanted religious slogans and wore black during a 2018 World Cup qualifying match which coincided with a holy day for Shia Muslims.

FIFA fined Iran's football federation on Thursday for asking fans attending the Tehran-based stadium to recite religious chants and wear black marking a holy day in the Shia calendar.

The world football federation issued a fine of 45,000 Swiss fancs [$46,000] relating to "several religious manifestations" displayed at the 2018 World Cup qualifying match.

It said Iranian fans broke rules during the game at Tehran's Azadi Stadium on 11 October, which marked the first of two mourning days for Muslims commemorating Ashura.

Iranian authorities claim they tried to reschedule the game but their request was rejected by FIFA on the grounds such changes would affect other teams, local media reported.

Friday prayers leader in Tehran, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, insisted that the match must uphold "religious norms" in connection with Ashura ceremonies.

FIFA prohibits political, religious or commercial messages during football games.

Similarly, the European football governing body – UEFA - fined Celtic football club 10,000 Euros [$11,200] after home fans flew Palestinian flags during a Champions league match with an Israeli football team.

The mass action in support of Palestine was organised on Facebook a week prior to the match hosted by Celtic on its Glasgow home ground by a group calling itself "Celtic fans for Palestine".

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