Between the sacred and the profane: conflicts between football and sharia in Iran

Or Hareuveny, Yehuda U. Blanga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present article illuminates an aspect of relations between religion and society in Iran that has so far received scant scholarly attention. It describes and analyzes the interaction between religious law in Iran and football, to wit, what solutions the regime tries to find for cases in which religious law comes into conflict with the game's huge popularity, for example: how should Iran act when reaching the world finals means playing on the most solemn day of mourning in the Shiite calendar? What should female Iranian athletes do if participation in international tournaments means they would have to remove the hijab? In what way are male players allowed to celebrate a goal? May they adopt Western-style fashions (haircuts, clothes) like their counterparts elsewhere? And are superstitions, witchcraft and magic allowed in connection with the game?.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number4
Early online date29 Aug 2022
StateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Aug 2022

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