Iranian Footballer Suspended Over SpongeBob SquarePants

Fact checked by The People's Voice Community

A professional Iranian footballer has been banned from domestic competition for six months after wearing bright yellow SpongeBob trousers in public.

The morality committee of Iran’s football association suspended Sosha Makani after seeing a picture of him wearing what appears to be a pair of SpongeBob SquarePants on social media.

spongebob Vice Sports reports:

The federation’s morality committee was responsible for handing down the ban, after deeming Sosha Makani’s trousers inappropriate. The 29-year-old goalkeeper, who was included in the Iran squad for the 2014 World Cup, is a regular starter with nine-time Iranian League winners Persepolis. He won the league title as recently as 2014, when he played for Foolad Khuzestan.

Regional media have compared the colour of his slacks to that of SpongeBob SquarePants, according to The Guardian. Online news agency Asriran has gone with the headline: “SpongeBob [trousers] cause six-month suspension for Sosha”. Similar comparisons have been drawn on social media.

Iran has strict morality laws which cover everything from clothes to music, internet usage to television and beyond. While women are subject to significantly more restrictions than men, Makani’s suspension shows that nobody is exempt.

An unidentified member of the morality committee was quoted by Varzesh3, an Iranian sports news agency, as saying that Makani had been summoned before the federation to face an inquiry on the matter, but refused to go. “We took this decision because of his appearance and the impact it can have on the society,” the official reportedly said.

Makani has previous when it comes to upsetting the Iranian authorities. He was briefly jailed in January, after pictures emerged on social media of him posing alongside several unveiled women.

It is compulsory for women to wear the hijab in Iran. At the time of his arrest, a judicial source was quoted as saying that he had been incarcerated for “publishing pictures that lead to the spread of corruption and prostitution in society.”spongebob

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