London: Popular Iranian footballer Ali Karimi, sometimes described as ‘the Maradona of Asia,’ has been fired by his club Steel Azin FC for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
According to the ‘Daily Telegraph’, Steel Azin FC wrote on its website www.steelazin.com that it was ‘forced to sack one of its players, Ali Karimi, for being disobedient and not fasting during Ramadan,’ when devout Muslims fast from dawn until dusk.
The club also accused Karimi, who was the Asian Player of 2004, of ‘insulting officials of the Iranian football federation and the Tehran team’s supervisor who confronted him on the issue.’
Karimi, however, has denied the allegations saying, “I am a Muslim and I believe in religious questions.”
His sacking has come after he criticised the management style of the club’s Managing Director and former official of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mostafa Ajorlou.
The club’s chairman Hossein Hedayati was unaware of the decision and was against Karimi’s sacking.
The 31-year-old player is the second most-capped player and the third-highest scorer for the Iranian national team.