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Israeli soccer star posts photo with Iran’s team captain

  • TOISoccer
The captain of Iran’s national soccer team posed for a photo with an Israeli soccer star. In a country that bans its athletes from competing against Israelis, the move is bound to be regarded as an offence that’s unlikely to go unpunished.
by TOI STAFF | Mar 22, 2018

Israel’s Maor Buzaglo posted the picture with Ashkan Dejagah on his Twitter account on Sunday.

“In soccer the rules are different, and there is one language without prejudice and wars. The captain of the Iranian team and I prove another way is possible,” wrote Buzaglo.

The picture was snapped in London, where Dejagah plays for the city’s Fulham soccer club and where Buzaglo was receiving medical treatment for his injured knee.

Dejagah was born in Iran and moved with his family to Germany when he was a year old. He refused to travel to Israel in 2007 when playing for Germany’s under-21 team.

While he stressed at the time that he had nothing against the Jewish state, instead expressing concerns over the safety of his relatives in Iran, his decision sparked anger among German Jews.

Iran maintains a strict ban on its athletes competing against Israelis. Last year, it banned two soccer players from its national team for playing for Greek club team Panionios in a match against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Iran later appeared to retract the ban after a huge outcry from soccer fans on social media and the launch of an investigation by international football governing body FIFA, which has strict rules against political interference in national teams.

Iran does not recognise Israel and supports terror groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian group Hamas, both of which seek the country’s destruction.

 

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