Iran sports minister given yellow card by parliament over 'mismanagement'

Hamid Sajjadi was speaking to parliamentarians about the ministry's financial problems

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Iran's Parliament gave a warning on Tuesday to Sports Minister Hamid Sajjadi, accusing him of mismanaging the ministry, the Fars news agency reported.

Mr Sajjadi spoke to parliamentarians in an open session on Tuesday to brief officials on the ministry's financial problems and expenses, especially regarding the country's football teams.

It came after the Iranian men's national team failed to progress past the group stages of December's World Cup in Qatar.

“The MPs were not satisfied with Sports Minister Sajjadi's answer about the mismanagement situation in professional sports, especially football, and he received a yellow card from the parliament,” said the agency.

Yellow cards are the Parliament's way of holding cabinet members accountable by summoning them for questioning or interpellations, a report by Germany-based think tank Carpo said.

“Depending on the minister’s performance, interpellations can lead to ‘yellow cards’ or impeachments. Even the President can be challenged through this mechanism,” the report said.

At the World Cup in Qatar, Iranians were seen wearing the “Women, Life, Freedom” slogan made famous during months-long protests in the country, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16.

She was detained for allegedly violating the country's dress code.

An Iranian football fan at the Qatar World Cup holds a jersey in memory of Mahsa Amini. Reuters

Demonstrators are demanding the removal of the regime.

Iran has repeatedly blamed foreigners for the political uprising.

“Hundreds of hypocrites were sent to Qatar on a special plane, as well as slogans, symbols and destructive tools created with the aim of isolating the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Mr Sajjadi said during Tuesday's session, state-news agency Isna reported.

Iran has also been under fire after football player Ali Daei, who backed the anti-government protests, said that a plane carrying his wife and daughter from Tehran to Dubai was rerouted and his family removed from the aircraft.

Iran football legend Ali Daei in 2011. He has backed the anti-government protests. AFP

“Daei's wife had pledged to inform the relevant institutions of her decision before leaving the country” after “association with the groups against the Islamic revolution and rioters and calling for strikes”, state news said, quoting the judiciary.

“The flight landed at Kish airport and Ali Daei's wife and daughter got off the plane.”

Updated: January 03, 2023, 9:47 AM