The Guardian is reportingthat  Iranian soccer stars Ali Karimi, Mehdi Mahdavikia,  Hosein Ka’abi, and Vahid Hashemian have been “retired” from soccer after wearing green wristbands during their world-qualifier match against South Korea last week.

“Most of the players obeyed instructions to remove the [wristbands] at half-time, but Mahdavikia wore his green captain’s armband for the entire match. The four are also said to have been banned from giving media interviews.

The fate of the other two players who wore the wristbands is unknown. None of the team members were given back their passports upon returning to Tehran after the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw – a result that ended Iran’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament.

Karimi is one of Iranian football’s best-known stars, having played for the German club Bayern Munich. Ka’abi played for Leicester City for several months during the 2007/8 season. Hashemian and Mahdavikia play for the German teams Bochum and Eintracht Frankfurt.”

So much for our dreams of a World Cup 2010 win for Iran.

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