The Iranian tattooed soccer players will have no place in the national team, Tehran Times daily reported on Monday.
“The Iranian Football Federation has been told it must not allow tattooed players into the national team,” the report said. The Ethics Committee of Iran’s Football Federation had previously issued repeated warnings to players to cover their tattoos on the playground, describing having a tattoo as unprofessional. The Iranian players, who have tattoos on their arms, always enter the playing field with long-sleeved tops, wear a short-sleeved shirt in their team’s games.
Iran considers athletes to be role models responsible for promoting “Islamic values” to the younger generation. Iranian state media often refers to tattoos as a symbol of “Westernization” or part of a Western “cultural invasion” of Islamic society. “Tattoos on the bodies of players is against Iranian culture and is detrimental to our society,” a top official had already said, according to Tehran Times.