Iran goalie banned over wearing ‘SpongeBob pants’
Krabby clericsKrabby clerics

Iran goalie banned over wearing ‘SpongeBob pants’

Conservative nation’s football federation suspends Sosha Makani for ‘inappropriate’ conduct, including his choice of clothing

Iranian footballer Sosha Makani (YouTube screenshot)
Iranian footballer Sosha Makani (YouTube screenshot)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran international goalkeeper Sosha Makani has been suspended for six months for “inappropriate” conduct, including the wearing of what media have dubbed “SpongeBob pants,” ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday.

The Iranian soccer federation’s morality committee cited Makani’s clothing as one of the reasons for handing out the punishment.

“Among the matters reviewed was Sosha Makani’s unconventional and inappropriate clothing,” it said about the 29-year-old, who played for Persepolis in the Iranian first division last season.

The ruling is not final and can be appealed, ISNA said.

Iran is a deeply conservative Islamic republic with strict clothing laws, including the obligatory wearing of a headscarf for women.

Makani’s clothing has grabbed the attention of local media, who likened his outfits to that of the American animation character SpongeBob.

In a photo that was posted to social media, Makani was seen in a colorful outfit, wearing yellow pants with black dots, a blue t-shirt, black belt, and blue-patterned converse shoes.

The penalty could also be related to a previous controversy in January when Makani was arrested and taken briefly to Tehran’s infamous Evin prison after pictures of him in the presence of a woman were leaked online.

In the photos he was seen dancing with her and hugging her. In another group photo, the same woman was seen in a dress with a low neckline while Makani and another man were wearing shorts with their bowtie and suit.

Media reported he claimed to be engaged with the woman and was later released on bail.

Iran also has strict laws against the mixing of unrelated men and women.

In recent months, Iran has arrested, and sometimes lashed, hundreds of men and women for mixed partying and drinking alcohol — both against Islamic Sharia, in force in the country since 1979.

Soccer player Mehrdad Oladi died in April at the age of 30 due to a heart attack, which the Judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie later said was caused by use of drugs and alcohol.

Following the 2015/16 season, Persepolis didn’t renew Makani’s contract.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Join our community
read more: