Long suspensions, heavy fines for Iran soccer players' fanny pat

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REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT -- Long suspensions and $30,000 fines. That's what Iran's football association imposed on two Iranian soccer players accused of celebrating a goal in an "immoral" manner, Iranian media reported Sunday.

The two players landed in hot water last month when Persepolis defender Mohammed Nosrati swatted the backside of his teammate, Sheys Rezaei, while celebrating a goal in a nationally televised match.

The players insisted the fanny pat was only for fun. But it didn't go down well with the Iranian football federation's disciplinary committee, which immediately suspended both players on charges of immoral offense and reportedly dismissed Persepolis manager Mahmoud Khordbin for failing to report the incident.

Nosrati's suspension will last 10 months, according to the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency. Rezaei will be suspended for 20 months. (Link in Persian.)

The team's current manager, Mohammed Royanian, protested the decision, telling ISNA that it will have a "bad impact on the spirit of the team."

Still, Persepolis beat Zoob e-Ahan 3-2 in Esfahan on Sunday, according to the semiofficial Iranian Labor News Agency.

Persepolis is Iran’s most popular club team and receives government financing.

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-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Alexandra Sandels in Beirut

Photo: Iranian soccer players Mohammed Nosrati, left, and Sheys Rezaei  at the Azadi stadium in Tehran in 2006. Credit:  Atta Kenare / AFP/Getty Images

 
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