Two Iranian soccer players who used “inappropriate” behavior to celebrate during a nationally televised game on Saturday may face lashings and imprisonment.
Iranian media have been up in arms over the celebratory scene captured on camera after a Persepolis goal, ending the team’s losing streak, in which one player touched the others’ buttocks.
The Washington Post reported that the action could be construed as a violation of public chastity, punishable by two months in prison and a public 74-strike lashing, taking place in the same soccer arena where the situation occurred.
Iranian media reported that Perspolis chairman Mohammad Royanian fined one player $194,000 and the other $230,000, who was also fired.
Royanian also criticized the Iranian football federation as well as the head of the Iranian Pro League for hyping the ‘unpleasant incident’ in front of news media representatives.
A judiciary official has called for the two men to be flogged and imprisoned.
Members of the National Soccer Team, however, have issued a statement in support of their colleagues, insisting that the affair was not intentional.
Both players have also issued public statements saying they committed no indecency, and all the negative interpretations of the scene are misunderstandings.
Former national team player Mehdi Mahdavikia said Iranian media were making a big deal out of the incident.
“When I was playing in Germany, such things happened all the time,” he said.
Watch what happened: