Iranian players seeking asylum have become a usual phenomenon. Despite the strict control exercised by the Iranian officials before and during the competition, many of them seek a better quality of life after participating in international sports events outside their country. In fact, players sign mortgage payments or financial documents in Iranian banks to ensure their return.
Nevertheless, Iranian news agencies reported on Monday that an Iranian national team player from the ski team sought asylum in Finland, after participating in the World Championship which is held in the city of Lahti, Finland.
Tasnim news agency, the media subsidiary for the Revolutionary Guards, stated that the Iranian delegation returned to Tehran without Alireza Mkadid, after participating in the World Championship Ski Competition in Finland.
Neither the player Alireza Mkadid nor the Iranian Federation have made an official statement about the incident. Nevertheless, the player in question posted pictures of the messages sent by Abdi Eftekhari, the president of the Ski Federation, on Instagram, advising him to delete the pictures he took with fellow sportswomen. He said they could be considered as threats to the player and could lead to his arrest if he returned to Iran on charges of “corruption and immoral conduct out of the principles of the Islamic revolution.”
In one of the messages of the Iranian president of the Ski Federation addressing the player, he stated: “The pictures published in your page does not fit the status of the Islamic Republic, delete them immediately, it seems that those who did not invite you to the team before were right.”
Some Iranian social media users considered the messages of the President of the federation as a direct threat to the player who chose to stay in Finland and not risk going back to his country.
The phenomenon of Iranian academics, politicians and athletes in particular seeking asylum began in general since the revolution in 1979 and the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war in the eighties of the last century, but it heated up after the protests of 2009 with an estimated number of refugees of tens thousands, for political, social or religious reasons.
Abbas Koli Kermestani, an Iranian wrestler, stayed in Germany in 2014 after he refused to return to his country, and he was preceded by Judo player Wahid Serlik. Mohsen Hajipour, the Greco Roman wrestler, attempted to stay in Las Vegas after a tournament , but the mediations carried out by the Iranian Union made the player abandon his dream of resorting to the United States and return to Iran.
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