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Ex-Iranian captain Mahdavikia in trouble for wearing shirt with Israeli flag

Former Iran captain Mehdi Mahdavikia has reportedly come under fire for wearing a shirt with a small Israeli flag on it during a friendly match.

Football’s world governing body FIFA organised the match.

Reports on Monday said Mahdavikia would face the consequences, including losing his job as Iran under-23 national team coach.

Mahdavikia, 44, participated in a December 17 match in Doha on the eve of the Arab Cup final.

The FIFA-organised game brought together an Arab legends team and world legends team.

All players wore shirts with small flags of all FIFA members, including Israel.

Iran does not recognise the state of Israel.

Hardliners in the Islamic Republic said Mahdavikia had breached sports policy rules, including athletes from Iran not competing against those from Israel.

But the accusations have also been dismissed by former teammates, sports media, and others.

They pointed out the match was not an official one but rather a cultural event and that Mahdavikia, after all, needed a shirt to play.

Mahdavikia won 111 Iran caps and played club football in Germany at Bochum, SV Hamburg, and Eintracht Frankfurt.

He has also coached in the Hamburg academy and junior Iran teams in the past.

(dpa/NAN)

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