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FIFA stops National Team from sporting Iranian Cheetah on World Cup shirts

Source: Radio Zamaneh

A campaign by environmental activists to raise awareness of the endangered Iranian Cheetah by putting its image on the shirts of Iran's national football team for the upcoming World Cup has been rejected by the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA).

Iranian Cheetah
Photos: A Lone Iranian Cheetah

The Iranian Football Federation has received a letter from FIFA stating that it would be a violation of Article 11 of the federation's regulations to put an image of the cheetah on the shirts.

Environmental activists were hoping that the image of the Iranian Cheetah on the Iranian team's shirts at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil would bring some attention to the grim fate of this endangered species and the campaign to save it. The plan was supported by Iran's Department of the Environment, and even FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, who travelled to Iran in November, had expressed support for the department's programs to protect the environment.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA Chief, with Massoumeh Ebtekar, head of Iran's Department of the Environment

Hooman Jokar, the head of the Project to Protect the Iranian Cheetah, says now that FIFA has ruled out using the cheetah image on the players' shirts, the activists will have to find another way to spread their message of support for this endangered species. It may be possible, he added, to put the image on other equipment used by the players.

Hooshang Nassirzadeh, an expert in the Iranian football federation's international affairs, told IRNA that according to FIFA regulations, only two images can be sported on players' shirts during World Cup games: the insignia of the country's national football federation and the logo of the shirts' manufacturers on the right-hand side. Nassirzadeh reports that Sepp Blatter sent a letter to Iranian officials after his return, and despite his commendation of efforts to protect the Iranian Cheetah, the letter states that FIFA cannot associate itself with such campaigns because it might lead to other countries formulating similar projects and calling on FIFA to support their own endangered species. Nassirzadeh maintained, however, that if FIFA agrees, Iran may still have the option of putting the image of the cheetah on the Iranian players' bus and on T-shirts that are distributed among viewers and fans.

The Iranian cheetah is the last remnant of the Asiatic cheetah and is seriously moving toward extinction. There are currently an estimated 50 to 70 cheetahs left in Iran, which is now the cheetah's only habitat outside of the African continent. It mostly lives in the Dasht-e Kavir Desert area, eastern regions and in parts of Kerman, Semnan, Khorasan, Yazd, Tehran and Isfahan provinces. The United Nations has put a number of programs in place in the past 12 years to protect the cheetah. After the Amur Leopard, the Asiatic cheetah is the most endangered feline in the world.

Related News:

FIFA chief green-lights Iranian cheetah logo for Iran team jersey

- Wrapping up a two-day visit to Tehran, Blatter promised to support a national plan aimed at fighting extinction of Iranian cheetah in form of designing a logo to depict the image of the cheetah on national football team's jersey in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. - 11/9/13

Iranian Cheetah Conservation Day

- They say that outside the African Continent, Iran is the only country where a limited number of leopards still make their home in the fields; however, their number in Iran is estimated to be little more than 50 heads. The Asiatic Cheetah is a beautiful and agile species that is now apparently breathing its last breaths. With its only habitat now limited to Iran, the Asiatic Cheetah is on the verge of extinction and after the Amur leopard, it is the most endagered feline in the world. -Bijan Rohani - 9/3/13

Iran's Natural Heritage: A Catalyst Symposium to Spark Measurable Change

- A natural forest logged and reduced to scrub or a productive wetland reclaimed to arable land is as much a loss of heritage as a listed building reduced to rubble. We not only draw aesthetic sustenance from our natural heritage, it is the basic element from which we derive our food, raw materials and the very oxygen we breathe. - 8/27/13

7th Annual Festival Of Cheetah Conservation Day To Be Held In Tehran

- August 31st has been named as Asiatic Cheetah Day in Iran. On this day in 1994 a cheetah cub was rescued from environmentally unaware people after having lost her mother and two siblings at a waterhole in central Iran. Since then, numerous programs have been organized in various parts of Iran each year to educate the public about this endangered specie. - 8/27/13


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