Mohammed Nosrati and Sheis Rezaei of Iranian league club Persepolis have already been banned indefinitely from entering any stadium in the country after celebrating goals in their side's nationally televised win over Damash Gilan last weekend by grabbing their teammate's backsides. They were also fined about $40,000 each. It was a harsh penalty for acts deemed "immoral" under the country's strict regulations, but it could end up being the easiest part of their punishment.
According to Iran's "semiofficial" Fars News Agency, the two players now face the very real possibility of imprisonment and 74 lashes on the pitch from which they've been banned.
From The Washington Post:
A judiciary official told Fars that Nosrati and Rezaei could also face public lashings, to be carried out on the soccer pitch where the behavior occurred.
According to the norms of ultra-conservative Iran, the players' "action can be considered a violation of public chastity," Judge Valiollah Hosseini told the news agency. "The punishment of this crime is prison up to two months and 74 lashes."
"It is even worse to do these actions before the eyes of thousands of spectators and TV cameras," Hosseini added.
The two footballers do have their defenders, though they are far less powerful than those with the ability to punish them.
"Come and execute them if it relieves you," [former Persepolis coach Ali Parvin] said sarcastically.
If they're willing to publicly lash these guys for a bit of goosing, that probably isn't a suggestion you want to make (even sarcastically), Ali.
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.
And the only lashes the Germans give after such an incident are purely for the enjoyment of those involved.
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- Fars News Agency