ISIS Rules For Soccer Are Just As Absurd As You’d Think

REUTERS/Mohammed Adnan

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Few aspects of life in the so-called Islamic State caliphate are not governed by overly strict rules, and that apparently includes soccer.

Iraqi Security Forces recently pushed the terrorist group out of the eastern portion of Mosul, Iraq, the country’s second largest city, allowing residents to play soccer as they did before. Some Mosul soccer players explained to Associated Press reporters the stringent rules the terrorist group enforced on Iraq’s favorite sport.

“It wasn’t as much fun,” said 26-year-old Obeyda Mohammed. “They introduced new rules that never existed in sports before.”

One of which was banning any logos or brand names on jerseys, because ISIS militants considered them idolatrous.

“I had to stand at the entrance of the pitch with scissors,” said 31-year-old Mohammed Sadiq, a worker at the local east Mosul soccer field. He recalled cutting out logos of world-famous teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona from players’ jerseys. “They called them infidel logos.”

Shorts were also a no-go, as they are considered immodest.

“We couldn’t wear shorts. We had to wear trousers like this,” said Obeyda Mohammed, pointing to a fellow player’s track pants. “But it had to be baggy, not tight. By the way, the brands and logos of companies like Adidas, Nike and the others were forbidden.”

Referee whistles, usually considered a key aspect for officiating a game, were also banned, as ISIS believed the shrill sounds “would make the devils gather.”

Medals and trophies were also not permitted, as they were considered to promote greed. Not that it mattered much, considering the teams were not even allowed to participate in tournaments.

Time limits were also done away with. A typical soccer game lasts for 90 minutes, split in two halves. But ISIS players would often abandon games after 15 minutes due to boredom. Games were also paused to observe traditional Muslim prayer times.

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