For some little-known reason, it is a common practice among athletes of all stripes -- from American linebackers to Australian rugby thugs -- to slap each other's rear ends after a good play. It's an odd tradition, but no one bats an eye when a point guard gives a center a little love after a big dunk.
But in Iranian soccer if you give or receive a celebratory goosing after a teammate scores a sweet goal on national television, it appears you and the culprit can get the whip, according to a report by Iran's Fars News Agency, or FNA.
During a Saturday match, footballer Mohammad Nosrati was caught on camera apparently trying to force his hand between teammate Sheys Rezai's buttocks as the two men and other players mobbed another player immediately after he scored the winning goal.
But the jubilation ended there for the two men, who have since been subject to calls for swift punishment by government leaders and sports officials, FNA reported.
Both men have since been suspended indefinitely by the country's soccer federation. They have both been fined almost $40,000 a piece, the news agency said. Worse than that, a judiciary official, Judge Valiollah Hosseini, told FNA that they could get the whip.
[This] action can be considered a violation of public chastity, Hosseini told FNA. The punishment of this crime is prison up to two months and 74 lashes ... It's even worse to do these actions before the eyes of thousands of spectators and TV cameras.
Nosrati and Rezaei play for Persepolis, a popular football club based in the nation's capital, Tehran.
The incident was not the only recent clash between the conservative Iranian authorities and soccer stars there, as officials made a player cut his long hair before being allowed to play in a match last week.