WATCH: Controversy as Iranian goalkeeper banned and fined ₦14.8 MILLION for ‘hugging female fan without hijab’ for just 3 seconds

Iranian goalkeeper banned and fined ₦14.8 MILLION for ‘hugging female fan without hijab’ for just 3 seconds | Credits: Iran International, Instagram

WATCH: Controversy as Iranian goalkeeper banned and fined ₦14.8 MILLION for ‘hugging female fan without hijab’ for just 3 seconds

David Ben 10:24 - 24.04.2024

Hossein Hosseini: An Iranian goalkeeper was penalized for quickly hugging a female fan without hijab during a league match.

In a recent development that has made the headlines, Iranian goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini, has sparked controversy over a gesture to die-hard fan on the pitch.

The Esteghlal captain and goalkeeper was penalized for his approach towards a female fan.

The incident in question occurred during Esteghlal’s 1-0 victory against Aluminum Arak on April 12, when a female fan's hijab slipped, prompting her to approach the pitch.

Hossein Hosseini hugging saga: What Happened?

Hossein Hosseini
Hossein Hosseini is the caption of Iranian club Esteghlal | Credit: Instagram

According to the viral video footage, Hosseini, 31 attempted to reach a female fan who had approached the side of the pitch.

The woman's ponytail became visible as her hijab reportedly slipped off during an encounter with security.

Hosseini intervened, signaling for security to step back as there was no threat apparent.

He promptly embraced her, defying Islamic laws concerning contact between genders, and softly tapped her shoulders, before security intervened again and removed the goalkeeper.

Iranian goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini
Esteghlal goalkeeper, Hossein Hosseini,made 11 appearances for the Iranian national team | Credit: Instagram

The Esteghlal player, who has made 11 appearances for the Iranian national team, was eventually escorted off the pitch amid a minor scuffle.

In response, some fans hurled objects at the security personnel as they led Hosseini away, while also applauding both him and the fan as they exited the pitch.

Reports suggest that spectators remained visibly agitated, chanting "shame on you" at the security personnel who remained on the field.

Following Hosseini's departure, several of his Esteghlal teammates intervened, with one of them offering his shirt to the fan in question.

Watch Video below:

Hossein Hosseini: Public backlash and Federation’s response

Iranian goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini
Hossein Hosseini was fined $4,800 for hugging a female fan without hijab | Credit: Instagram

Following the embrace, the Iranian football federation swiftly moved to penalize Hosseini, citing his actions as "unprofessional" and in violation of existing regulations.

According to a report on Iran International News,  Hosseini was slapped with a hefty fine of approximately ₦6.2 million ($4,800) and handed a one-match suspension.

Since the 1979 revolution, women in Iran have been required to wear hijabs, or headscarves, despite many Muslim women globally viewing it as a personal choice.

Additionally, FIFA has consistently urged Iran's football federation to permit female spectators in stadiums.

In a landmark move in 2019, attendance for women was authorized, despite significant resistance to the policy change.

The aforementioned outlet also revealed that Hosseini, expressing his resolve, stated that he would pay the fine, claiming that "three billion rials for the sake of a female fan of Esteghlal is worth it."

Iranian goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini
Hossein Hosseini of Esteghlal | Credit: Instagram

Despite Hosseini's public statement expressing his willingness to pay the fine for the sake of the fan, further backlash ensued.

Reports suggest that authorities have viewed his comments as unfavourable, and are also considering imposing extra sanctions on the goalkeeper.

The IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency launched a campaign demanding further sanctions against Hosseini for his comments, which led to an additional fine of 300 million rials (₦8.6 million).

The punitive actions also triggered a strong reaction, with Mansour Rashidi, former national team goalkeeper, questioning the fairness of the punishment, particularly in contrast to treatment of other public figures.

Rashidi reportedly said, "Why was there silence and no penalty imposed when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president, embraced the mother of the Venezuelan president?"

The situation has already sparked renewed talks about women going to stadiums in Iran, a topic that many people have continued to debate and criticize around the world.