A former Iran’s captain and junior national team coach, Mehdi Mahdavikia, has reportedly come under fire for wearing a shirt with a small Israeli flag on it during a FIFA-friendly match.


Reports have it that given the blunder, he risks sanctions, including losing his job as Iran under-23 national team coach.

Mahdavikia, 44, participated in a December 17 match in Doha on the eve of the Arab Cup final.

The FIFA-organized game brought together an Arab legends team and world legends team.

All players wore shirts with small flags of all FIFA members, including Israel.

Iran does not recognise the state of Israel.

The accusations have however been dismissed by former teammates, sports media and others.

They argued that the match was not an official one, but rather a cultural event, thus Mahdavikia after all, needed a shirt to play.

Mahdavikia won 111 Iran caps and also played club football in Germany at Bochum, SV Hamburg and Eintracht Frankfurt.

He has also coached in the Hamburg academy as well as junior Iran teams in the past.

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