Iran star fined for 'not fasting'

Former Bayern Munich player Ali Karimi fined $40,000 but denies failing to observe Ramadan.

    Karimi is mobbed as he arrives with Bayern Munich for a friendly in Tehran in 2006 [GALLO/GETTY]

    Former Bayern Munich star Ali Karimi has been reinstated by his club in Iran after being sacked for not fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

    The 2004 Asian footballer of the year, who has made 112 appearances for Iran and is his country's third-highest scorer, was still fined $40,000 by Steel Azin FC.

    The club's disciplinary committee found Karimi guilty of disrespecting Iran's football federation and the club's supervisor, as well as not fasting during a training session on August 12.

    Karimi, dubbed by some Iranian commentators as the Maradona of Asia, was sacked in mid-August after having questioned decisions by the club's managing director and former commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mostafa Ajorlou.

    Denies wrongdoing

    The 31-year-old midfielder has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he has always heeded religious values, especially during Ramadan when devout Muslims fast from dawn until dusk.

    He is the Iranian national team's second most capped player, and played at the World Cup in 2006.

    He had a two-year stint in the Bundesliga, scoring four goals in 50 appearances for Bayern Munich.

    Ramadan started in Iran on August 12 and under Iranian laws, all Muslims are required to observe the holy month, while those who do not fast, including non-Muslims, are expected to abstain from eating or drinking in public.

    Steel Azin said late on Tuesday that Karimi would only play again once he had settled his fine.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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