The AFC has turned down Iran’s request for the Omid Team to wear black armband to commemorate the death of Fatima Al Zahra, the Prophet Mohammad’s daughter who died in year 632. Fatimah is an inspiring example for Shia Moslems and highly revered.
The AFC found such request inappropriate and not relating to sport. It also violates the international regulation against the display of religious and political messages by players and teams for which severe penalties and sanctions are imposed.
It is not clear the reason behind the insistence of Iran’s football federation FFIRI in requesting such permission despite the fact that FFIRI officials are clearly aware of the rules governing the display of political and religious slogans in stadiums or by sport men and women.
The audacity of the federation reached a level that an unnamed executive of the federation, perhaps succumbing to external pressure, asked the International Relations officer of FFIRI of what are the consequences of defying this AFC and FIFA rule and going ahead with wearing the black armband, in which case the answer was spontaneous; Iran team will be prevented from playing!. The seriousness of the situation was eventually realized by the FFIRI and they opted to play the game according to the rules.
Iranian players in the domestic league, frequently display political but mainly religious messages and slogans on their under jersey and reveal them during scoring celebration. Although such practice is banned by FIFA and also has been considered inappropriate by some religious figures, it seems to be promoted within Iran as TV cameras habitually focus on any player who displays such religious slogans as if it is a mandatory practice!
The Iranian sportsmen and athletes were notorious for displaying religious messages and defiant political slogans right after the revolution but international uproar and application of new rules against such unsporting practices curbed such behavior by the Iranians, apparently not totally eliminated it.