Asian Champions League: Iranian player suspended for racist gesture, angry fans

The Persepolis team during the meeting against the Uzbek club Pakhtakor, September 30, 2020. Mustafa ABUMUNES / AFP

Text by: Sara Saidi Follow

5 mins

Isa Alkasir, striker for Iranian club Persepolis, is suspended for six months by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) after committing a racist gesture against the Uzbek club Pakhtakor on September 30.

The supporters of the Iranian team denounce the decision of the AFC and point the finger at the influence of Saudi Arabia.


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A gesture and controversies.

On September 30, during the quarter-final between Iranian club Persepolis and Uzbek club Pakhtakor, in Doha, Qatar, Iranian striker Isa Alkasir mimed almond eyes with his hands.

Accused of racism for this gesture, Isa Alkasir is suspended six months by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) a few hours before the semi-final against the Saudi club Al-Nassr.


The AFC Discipline and Ethics Committee has decided to suspend Isa Alkasir, the Iranian club player Persepolis, from all football-related activities for a period of 6 months, in accordance with article 58.1 of the regulations. discipline and ethics (2019 edition), so that the suspension will be implemented with immediate effect

 , ”said the AFC in its press release on October 3.

The player is also fined $ 10,000 for an act of discrimination.

A gesture dedicated to his nephew


His gesture was absolutely not racist!

 Exclaims a Persepolis supporter.

He was already making this gesture when he was a player at Sanat-e Naft (

club based in the city of Abadan in Iran, note

) (…) why was he not criticized at that time?

She wonders.

Many Iranian fans have defended the player by posting


where the footballer is seen making the same gesture, as a celebration after scoring a goal, during a domestic match.

To show their support, other Internet users took pictures of themselves, their hands stretching out their eyes, thus imitating the footballer's gesture: " 

Happiness, after

(the match against)

the Saudis, Alkasir way

 ", writes this


on Instagram.


This is the worst injustice the AFC has done to Persepolis!

Why so much discrimination?


Why when Messi and other players like him make the same gesture they are not called racists?

As soon as it is an Iranian footballer and member of one of the best teams in Asia, that changes everything!

 »Exclaims indignantly Mona, supporter of the Tehran team.


Internet users

have indeed posted photos of the Argentinian Lionel Messi with the same gesture as the Iranian player.

Isa Alkasir himself


on Iranian TV that this gesture, at each goal, is dedicated to his nephew who has almond eyes.


Team Melli


recalls, however, that the 30-year-old has already received yellow cards several times for his "

rather eccentric goals


According to the site, the player would for example have taken off his t-shirt after scoring during another AFC meeting.

Fans denounce Saudi influence

But for Iranian fans, the suspension decision was taken under Saudi influence in an attempt to weaken the Iranian team just before the game against Saudi team Al-Nassr on October 3.

Isa Alkasir is indeed considered one of the best forwards in the team.

We think it was for the bribes, the money Saudi Arabia gives or has promised to give to the AFC, that they suspended him because he was Persepolis' top scorer and if he had been there during the match

(against El Nassr, ndrl)

we would have won within 90 minutes and would not even have needed extra time!

 », Explains a supporter to RFI.

Comments that Internet users join on social networks: “ 

The AFC is the slave of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi dollars are more powerful than a clear conscience, ”

writes one

Internet user


“Shame on you Arab Football Confederation



another on Twitter.

The Persepolis club have appealed the decision and supporters hope that the AFC will reverse its conviction before the final, scheduled for December: " 

We are still waiting for the AFC to change their mind and accept the protest of the team of Persepolis, but it seems that the AFC even knowing that Isa Alkasir had no bad intentions has not changed its mind,

 ”regrets Mona.


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