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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Iran bans long hair on the pitch
Iranian football fans
Football is popular in Iran
Iranian footballers have been banned from sporting "unconventional" hairstyles on the pitch.

The Iranian Football Federation has ordered clubs to warn players with long hair and ponytails - and says offenders will be fined and temporarily banned.

Players should respect the values of the Islamic country and avoid setting a bad example to Iranian youth, the federation said.

Correspondents say football is the most popular sport in Iran.

'Values'

Two players in the Iranian professional league have reportedly received warnings about their hairstyles.

"Football clubs have been ordered to stop players with long, messy hair, ponytails, hair bands and certain kinds of beard, or they will be fined and banned from playing," a federation official told AFP news agency.

"We live in a traditional society and certain values must be respected.

"The champions who act as role models to society set a bad example to the youth by appearing like that," he added.



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