The ‘beautiful game’ turned ugly as soon as Iran-Russia kicked off

Morality Police State 1-1 Ukraine Invaders: The ‘Beautiful Game’ turned ugly as soon as Iran vs Russia kicked off… it’s a DISGRACE the match was allowed to take place

  • Russia drew 1-1 with Iran in an international friendly in Tehran on Thursday
  • The nation is banned from Euro 2024 by UEFA following the invasion of Ukraine
  • Iran hosted the match amid ongoing protests against the country’s regime 

Writers for TASS, Russia’s state-owned news agency, had struggled to make up their mind. They referred to Thursday night’s meeting with Iran as a ‘friendly’. And also an ‘exhibition’. Neither quite fit. Neither quite captured the core of this international clash of outcasts. Nothing rolls off the tongue, in fairness. But how about… a disgrace? Or an exhibition of football’s grubby relationship with politics and pariahs and morals?

The sport lost as soon as this game kicked off. As soon as two teams, representing two countries piling misery on to fear and destruction, were allowed to organise a kickabout. For those interested, it ended in Tehran: Iran 1-1 Russia. Invaders pegged back by ‘Morality Police’ State?

We await the final score of crimes against humanity. Both these nations are racking up accusations, after all.

And yet, Russia won’t have to wait long for another run-out. Iraq are their visitors on Sunday. Good question.

Valery Karpin’s side have been banned from UEFA and FIFA competitions following the invasion of Ukraine. At TASS, they call it the ‘situation’. We know it better as a 13-month assault on a neighbouring democracy. Since protests erupted in Iran last September, meanwhile, reports of murder, imprisonment, disappearance, torture and rape have followed. Security forces stand accused of firing on unarmed children; kids are said to have described sexual abuse and electric shocks; a wave of suspected poisonings has struck schoolgirls.

Russia drew 1-1 with Iran in a friendly in Tehran marking their return to international football

Russia are banned from the Euro 2024 qualifiers following the country's invasion of Ukraine

 Russia are banned from the Euro 2024 qualifiers following the country’s invasion of Ukraine

The presence of Iranian women was labelled as a 'PR show' amid ongoing unrest in the nation

The presence of Iranian women was labelled as a ‘PR show’ amid ongoing unrest in the nation

Unrest has stalked the team since before the World Cup in Qatar. Russia were expelled from that tournament.

Unfortunately, football’s lawmakers are powerless to prevent two nations organising a match during this international window.

‘We do not experience a flow of people who want to play with us,’ a Russian football chief bemoaned recently.

Iran were happy to oblige and Sportsmail caught some of the action on a dodgy stream that held up long enough to see Russia take the lead through a first-half penalty.

That prompted the camera crew to cut to a pocket of visiting supporters. TASS reported that up to 500 Russian fans would be in Tehran. And there they were, with flags and face paint. There was a decent crowd on the far side of the ground. Others areas, not in immediate view of the cameras, appeared deserted. Funny that.

OpenStadiums, ‘a movement of Iranian Women seeking to end discrimination’, suggested those females supporting the home team had been ‘hand-selected’ for ‘another PR show.’

Before long, our stream cut to an Italian TV show about celebrities and, it seems, cosmetic surgery. Alas, nothing could touch up this mess.