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Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), has fined £37000 to Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran for raising religious slogans by the Iranian spectators during the game. In the qualifying match for FIFA world cup, Iran had told its viewers to wear the black dress and raise the religious slogans by Muharram instead of chanting about the game during the match.

Iran played its qualifying match against the South-Korea and defeated its opponent with one goal. The team members from opponent side had also worn black strips in arms to show solidarity with Iran.

The imposition of fine on Iran by FIFA was due to its policy of disallowing the communication of any political and religious messages during the matches. FIFA has not for the first time imposed fines for such cases.

Earlier to this, spectators from Croatia and Kosovo had also chanted slogans against the Serbia in a qualifying match on October 6, 2016, as Serbia had opposed the membership of Kosovo in FIFA. As a result of this, FIFA imposed fines of £40,000 and £25000 on Croatia and Serbia respectively.

In 2014, the Argentinian team had also given a political statement by unfurling a banner during its friendly match against Slovenia. The banner said, “Las Malvinas Son Argentinas”, which means the Falklands belongs to us.  Las Malvinas is the Argentinian name of Falklands, which is disputed territory, being administered by the Britain from 1833.

After this banner, FIFA asked England players not to respond to this question before media to prevent the matter from creating further conflict. FIFA also investigated the Argentina for such move.

There is an old history of using the sports field to convey messages on social, political and cultural issues. Like wearing black armbands in 2003 world cup by the Zimbabwe, cricket team members was a way to agitate on the political situation of the country. In 2014, NFL football players such as St.Louis Rams made gestures to protest against the killings of black people and racial discrimination in America.

Keeping in view such moves international sports governing body has regulated the statements by athletes on political and religious matters.

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