The Iran football governing body has barred two players from national team duty for life after they played in a match against Israeli club in the Europa League.
According to a government official, Iran captain Masoud Shojaei and midfielder Ehsan Haji Safi each played 90 minutes in Greek club Panionios’ home leg of the third-round qualifier against Maccabi Tel Aviv last week.
Their action, according to the Iranian government violated the country’s longstanding prohibition on athletes facing opponents from Israel.
The New York Times quoted Iran’s deputy sports minister Mohammad Reza Davarzani as telling state television: “It is certain that Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Haji Safi will never be invited to join the national football team because they violated the red line.”
Iran’s national team could face sanctions from FIFA, which forbids political interference in international football.