Israel’s Foreign Ministry has tweeted their appreciation for two Iranian players who “broke the taboo of playing against Israeli athletes”.
The tweet referred to Iranian football players Masoud Shujai and Ehsan Haj Safi, both of whom are members of the Greek Panionios football club.
Panionios FC recently played an away game against Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv football club. Both Shujai and Haj Safi were unable to travel to Israel for the game but were included and played against the Israeli team during the home game in Athens.
آفرین به مسعود شجاعی و احسان حاج صفی که تابوی مسابقه ندادن با ورزشکاران اسرائیلی را شکستند #Football— اسرائیل به فارسی (@IsraelPersian) August 4, 2017
Their participation might have landed them in hot water in their home country after Iranian football officials said they would look at banning the players from joining Iran first team.
Iranian news agencies quoted Mohammed Javad Ababaf, director general of Iran’s sports ministry, as saying: “There is a great possibility that players will be punished”.