Iran’s top footballer sacked for not fasting

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Iran’s top footballer sacked for not fasting

TEHRAN - Popular Iranian footballer Ali Karimi, sometimes described as “the Maradona of Asia,” has been fired by his club for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the club said on Sunday.

Steel Azin FC said on its Web site,, that it was “forced to sack one of its players, Ali Karimi, for being disobedient and not fasting during Ramadan,” when devout Muslims refrain from eating from dawn until dusk.

Karimi had even “insulted officials of the (Iranian) football federation and Tehran team’s supervisor, who confronted him on the issue,” Steel Azin said.

The player himself denied any wrongdoing.

His sacking comes after he criticized in an interview on his Web site the management style of the club’s managing director, Mostafa Ajorlou.

The Islamic republic’s state news agency IRNA, meanwhile, reported that the club’s chairman, Hossein Hedayati, was unaware of the decision and was against Karimi’s sacking.

Karimi, 31, is the third-highest scorer for the Iranian national team.

He also had a two-year stint in the Bundesliga, scoring four goals in 50 appearances for Bayern Munich.

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