AFP: Star footballer Ali Karimi, often dubbed the Maradona of Asia, has been reinstated after he was sacked for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, his club said.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Star footballer Ali Karimi, often dubbed the Maradona of Asia, has been reinstated after he was sacked for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, his club said.
But Steel Azin FC said on its website late on Tuesday that Karimi would only be allowed to play again after paying a fine of 40,000 dollars.
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, the 2004 Asian player of the year and 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.
Karimi, 31, 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 third highest scorer. 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.
Muslims observe Ramadan by abstaining from food, drink, cigarettes and sex during daylight hours. Pregnant and menstruating women, the sick, travellers and pre-pubescent children are exempt from the fast.