Iran has warned its players of 'dire consequences' if they are found clicking selfies with female fans during the Asian Cup in Brisbane.
Despite the strict sex segregation rules that ban women in Iran from even entering the football stadium, the game in the country has a huge female fan following, who turned up in large numbers in Australia for the Asian Cup.
The Iranian football federation was reportedly alarmed back home, after several women posted 'selfies' with their favourite Iranian footballers online.
The images that show Iranian female fans posing with the footballers without a hijab raked up quite a controversy in the puritanical country.
The photographs of Iranian women were branded 'indecent,' following which the football board of the country issued the warning asking players to avoid taking selfie with "inappropriately dressed" women.
Iranian Football Federation's disciplinary committee in its ban order warned the players that they might end up facing a hard-time back home for their indiscretion.
"Players are not allowed to pose for selfies with female fans," Ali Akbar Mohamedzade said. "They [the women] may later use these photos for political ransom against our country or sue the players for harassment. If the players refuse to act according to our clear instructions then we will be left with no option but to deal with them."
— Football 24/7 (@Foetbal247) January 19, 2015
The Iranian football team's coach Carlos Queiroz, who once was an assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, was also reportedly questioned about the behaviour of his team.
— sanaz piroozi (@sansanaz) January 11, 2015
The controversy in Iran erupted after one particular photograph of a female Iranian fan went viral on social media.
The image shows the fan holding an Iranian flag, whose central white strip carried a message saying: "Will Alireza marry me?" – a reference to the popular goalkeeper, Alireza Haghighi.