FIFA writes to the Iranian football association seeking answers following a Guardian report that four Iranian players were banned from playing for their country for their gesture of wearing green armbands.
In their match against South Korea, Iranian players Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka’abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 wore green arm bands in support of the presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was defeated in the June 12 presidential elections which hundreds of thousands of pro-reform Iranians believe was rigged in favour of the establishment candidate and present incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
A spokesman for FIFA said:
” We wrote a letter to the Iranian Federation to ask for some answers and clarification regarding the press reports over what happened to some of the Iranian players following the qualifier with South Korea on June 17.”
Green was used by Mousavi as a campaign colour that is now adopted by his supporters as a symbol of their protest against the hardline regime of Ayatollah Ali Khameini.
The US team is being petitioned to wear green arm bands in their match against Brazil to show solidarity with the pro-reform movement sweeping Iran.
The movement has gathered momentum after Neda Soltan was gunned down by the Basij on June 20th. Her death was captured on video which went viral and she is now the public face of the opposition.