Iranian professional soccer player Voria Ghafouri has been sacked from his team after criticizing the Islamic Republic’s bloody response to ongoing nationwide protests.
The head coach of Fooald FC in the southern city of Ahvaz announced that Ghafouri had no place in the team, Iranian media reported.
Iranian authorities arrested Ghafouri, a member of Iran’s Kurdish minority, in November and later released him.
The football player has been an outspoken critic of Iranian authorities and policies, objecting to a ban on women spectators at men’s soccer matches, among other things.
More recently, he called for an end to an ongoing brutal crackdown on demonstrations in Iran’s western Kurdish regions.
A growing number of Iranian celebrities and sports personalities have shown support for the protest movement triggered by the September death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, while in police custody for an alleged clothing violation.