Nov 29, 2022; Doha, Qatar; Iran fans during the first half of a group stage match during the 2022 World Cup at Al Thumama Stadium. Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Soccer might be the world’s sport, bringing people from all different cultures together, but it’s good to remember that regional and national cultures remain vastly different in certain areas.

Case in point, the Iranian goalie who has been suspended and fined for hugging a female fan.

The Football Federation of Iran suspended and fined Hossein Hosseini, a goalie for Esteghlal FC, after a female fan stormed the field and approached him for what amounted to a three-second hug.

According to the federation’s committee, Hosseini’s actions were “unprofessional and beyond the legal duties of a player.” They fined him three billion rials, which comes to roughly $4,500, and suspended him for one match.

“I will pay the fine, for the sake of that woman fan,” the goalie said afterward.

Unfortunately for him,  Iran news agency IRNA reported that he could face additional penalties for the above comments, including another fine.

The incident involved a female fan who was not wearing a hijab who made her way past security and approached the goalie on the field. While security tried to restrict her, she was able to get to Hosseini, who hugged her and tried to calm her down. Eventually, she was removed from the pitch by security.

Issues involving Iranian soccer players and the restrictive government have cropped up several times in recent years.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to