Iranian soccer authorities have pledged to deal with beach soccer players who showed solidarity with Iranian protesters at an international tournament this week.
Iran won the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup on Sunday, beating Brazil in the final after Saeed Piramoon scored the winning goal.
After scoring, Piramoon mimicked her haircut – a move signaling her support for nationwide protests in the country calling for more freedoms for women.
It follows the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly.
Before the start of the final match, the Iranian players were seen not singing as the country’s national anthem was played.
“People who have not followed professional and sports ethics… will be treated in accordance with the regulations,” said a statement released by the Iranian Football Federation.
“In accordance with the regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Olympic Code of Ethics and FIFA rules, political behavior should be avoided on sports grounds,” the statement said.
A video posted on BBC Persian reportedly showed journalists being prevented from speaking to the national team upon their return to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport. CNN could not verify the video.
Last month, 33-year-old Elnaz Rekabi competed without a hijab at the International Sport Climbing Federation Asian Championships in Seoul. Videos of her wearing a headband with her hair in a ponytail during the competition spread on social media.
Rekabi herself has suggested – both on her Instagram account and in interviews with state media IRNA – that she only “accidentally” competed without her hijab, which Iran requires women representing country abroad wear it. However, it is unclear if Rekabi’s comments were made under duress.
Handball player Sajjad Esteki, women’s rugby captain Fereshteh Sarani, fencer Mojtaba Abedini Shourmasti and taekwondo star Mahsa Sadeghi, meanwhile, have all quit their national teams in protest against the Iranian government, and the former Highly respected wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Rasoul Khadem expressed his support for all athletes who took action.