A selfie never (or almost never) hurts anybody. But good luck explaining this to the Iranian Football Federation, which says it will discipline its players if they pose for any more selfies with female fans in Australia, where they're currently taking part in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Australia has a sizable community of Iranian expatriates who come out in great numbers to support their old country on match days. While all the players attract a lot of attention, goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi stands out from the rest.
The 26-year-old's good looks, towering physique and brilliance between the sticks means he gets asked for a lot of selfies by female fans – a request he often accepts. But that hasn't gone down well with the Iranian authorities who have now banned all Iranian national footballers from taking selfies with women.
“Players are not allowed to pose for selfies with female fans,” said Ali Akbar Mohamedzade, the head of the Iranian Football Federation’s disciplinary committee.
“If the players refuse to act according to our clear instructions then we will be left with no option but to deal with them,” the so-called head further threatened.
Granted, selfies are very 2014, but they still don't deserve to be banned. Those guys must have some other reason, and there is.
Apparently, people running football affairs in Iran have gotten in their heads that selfies with female fans could somehow be used against their country. But exactly how, let our man Mohamedzade do the explaining.
“[These women] may later use these photos for political ransom against our country or sue the players for harassment,” added Mohamedzade, who may head his unit, but doesn't seem to use his real head too often.
One photo in particular that has riled up the Iranian board so much is that of an Iranian-Aussie female fan wearing a tank top and waving the national flag that says “Will Alireza marry me?”
He himself revealed the real reason in his next comment.
"In some of the selfies that our players have taken with the fans we can see they appear next to people whose appearance we regard as being against our moral principles,” Mohamedzade added. “I have therefore had to contact the national coach and questioned him about this issue and he has explicitly denied having agreed to posting of such selfies on social networks.”
Among other things, Iran has some of the weirdest set of principles regarding female fans' interest in sports. It restricts women from attending men's sports, and despite loads of talent, Iranian women rarely participate in major sporting events due to restrictions imposed on them.