Germany censured an Iranian-born member of a national soccer team who refused to play in Israel.
The Interior Ministry in Berlin on Wednesday spoke out against Ashkan Dejagah, a player on Germany’s under-21 soccer team who backed out of a European Championship qualifying match in Tel Aviv this week.
“The interior minister is of the opinion that each player who is nominated for the national team must be willing to play in any country with which the German Football Association has sporting ties,” a spokesman said. “Political reasons must not play a role.”
Dejagah, who was born in Tehran and also holds German citizenship, has indicated that he fears Iranian reprisals if he travels to Israel. It remains unclear whether he will be sanctioned for shunning Friday’s game.