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Category: Middle East and North Africa

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Undercover: female football fans in Iran

For nearly 40 years, Iranian women have been banned from watching stadium football matches. The photographer Forough Alaei, a World Press Photo winner in the sports category for her Crying for Freedom series, describes following the story of Zeinab, on…

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‘We are superhero girls here’: how football is helping refugees in Lebanon | Suzanne Wrack

Barcelona are running a programme in the Bekaa Valley, aiming to harness football’s ability to break down the barriers society constructs between people and cultures“The young boys did not accept the idea of playing with girls. I used to show them that…

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F1 urged to speak up in the face of Bahrain government crackdown

• Jean Todt called upon to act in case of activist Najah Yusuf• ‘Any gathering of six or seven people chanting will be attacked’Small-scale protests against the Bahrain Grand Prix are expected across the country this weekend, according to the Bahrain I…

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F1 urged to speak up in the face of Bahrain government crackdown

• Jean Todt called upon to act in case of activist Najah Yusuf• ‘Any gathering of six or seven people chanting will be attacked’Small-scale protests against the Bahrain Grand Prix are expected across the country this weekend, according to the Bahrain I…

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Every moment I spend in prison in Bahrain stains the reputation of F1 | Najah Yusuf

In 2017 I criticised the Bahrain Grand Prix on Facebook. Since then I have been imprisoned, beaten and sexually assaultedI am a civil servant from Bahrain. I write from Isa Town prison, 22km away from the Bahrain International Circuit, which hosts Form…

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F1 accused of ‘turning blind eye’ over activist’s jailing in Bahrain

• F1 says imprisonment ‘had nothing to do with peaceful protest’• Najah Yousif jailed after criticising Bahrain GP in 2017Formula One has been accused of “looking the other way” by human rights groups in the case of an activist who was beaten, sexually…

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F1 accused of ‘turning blind eye’ over activist’s jailing in Bahrain

• F1 says imprisonment ‘had nothing to do with peaceful protest’• Najah Yousif jailed after criticising Bahrain GP in 2017Formula One has been accused of “looking the other way” by human rights groups in the case of an activist who was beaten, sexually…

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Hakeem al-Araibi: thank you Australia for bringing me home – but my fight is not over

Bahrain will do anything to hunt down dissident athletes and their families. International sporting bodies must step up to protect the helpless I can never truly express my gratitude to you all, the Australian people, for bringing me home. There were c…

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Hakeem Al-Araibi: Thailand to free Bahraini footballer

Thai authorities drop extradition case against refugee, meaning he can return to Australia The Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi is set to return to Australia after Thai authorities withdrew an extradition case against him.The surprise decision on M…

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Revealed: Lynton Crosby’s £5.5m offer to undermine 2022 Qatar World Cup

Tory strategist’s pitch detailed how CTF Partners would spread negative stories and press Fifa to ‘restart bidding process’Sir Lynton Crosby offered to work on a campaign to cancel the 2022 Qatar World Cup and get it awarded to another country in retur…

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Male golfers happily took Saudi money. Female players may think twice

Saudi Arabia plans to host a tournament for female golfers but athletes may have qualms about a country in which women are second-class citizensSaudi Arabia, a country that recently took the radical step of allowing women to drive, is now a stop on the…

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Friends of UK football fan detained in UAE call for his release

UAE official denies Ali Issa Ahmad was arrested for wearing Qatar shirtFriends of the British football fan who has been arrested and detained in the United Arab Emirates have called on the UAE government to allow him to return home safely to the UK.The…

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British man detained in UAE after wearing Qatar football T-shirt to match

Ali Issa Ahmad held over ‘false allegations against security officials’ after initial arrestA British football fan has been arrested and detained in the United Arab Emirates after he wore a Qatar national team shirt to a match.Ali Issa Ahmad, 26, a Bri…

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Hakeem al-Araibi faces further 60 days in Thai jail after extradition hearing

Refugee footballer arrived shackled and barefoot for hearing on Bahrain extradition requestRefugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi has been given 60 days to prepare a defence against Bahrain’s attempt to extradite him from Thailand.The 25-year-old will rem…

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Saudi Arabia, sportswashing and golf’s daring sortie into enemy coffers | Marina Hyde

The European Tour breaks new and controversial ground in the Middle East this week, with Justin Rose among the players being paid up to $1m to compete in the Saudi InternationalIn a flawlessly manicured instance of cosmic timing, last Sunday saw Justin…

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Hakeem al-Araibi’s detention not Sheikh Salman’s responsibility, AFC says

Asian Football Confederation, which has come under fire for failing to call for the refugee footballer’s release, says its president was recused from overseeing the region 18 months ago The Asian Football Confederation claims its president, Sheikh Salm…

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Football must go in hard on Bahrain over the Hakeem al-Araibi affair | Sean Ingle

It is time for Fifa and the IOC to threaten serious sporting sanctions if the Bahraini footballer detained in Thailand and facing extradition is not set freeThere is a striking story in The Club, Jonathan Clegg and Joshua Robinson’s new book on how the…

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Call for Fifa’s Salman al-Khalifa to step down if Hakeem al-Araibi is not freed

World Players Association questions why there has been no statement from the football body’s vice-president Sheikh Salman al-Khalifa should be disqualified from his positions as vice-president of Fifa and president of the Asian Football Confederation (…

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‘Please help me’: refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi tells of his Thai jail ordeal

Exclusive: In an interview with the Guardian he pleads for his release and says he fears torture and jail if extradited to BahrainHakeem al-Araibi, the refugee footballer from Bahrain who was detained in Thailand while on his honeymoon, has said he is …

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Supercoppa controversy rages over Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women

Protests over the decision to hold the Italian Super Cup in Jeddah have grown since murder of Jamal Khashoggi in OctoberWhen, early last June, the Italian football league agreed a €20m deal to play three of the next five Italian super cups in Saudi Ara…