Asian Games: Iran official to be sent home for harassment, Palestinian footballer charged too

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has thrown an Iranian official out of the Asian Games after South Korean police charged him with sexual harassment, while a Palestine footballer has been charged with the same offence and banned from leaving the coun
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has thrown an Iranian official out of the Asian Games after South Korean police charged him with sexual harassment, while a Palestine footballer has been charged with the same offence and banned from leaving the country. -- PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has thrown an Iranian official out of the Asian Games after South Korean police charged him with sexual harassment, while a Palestine footballer has been charged with the same offence and banned from leaving the country.

The OCA said in a statement on Wednesday that Amereh Ahmad, who looked after the equipment for the Iran football team, had been banned from all Asian Games sites, including the athletes' village, venues and hotels.

The OCA has also asked Iran's National Olympic Committee to send him home.

"The Olympic Council of Asia has issued a zero tolerance policy for any cases of sexual harassment at the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea," it said in a statement.

"It was not a matter of a physical attack; it was verbal sexual harassment," the OCA said of the incident, which took place on Monday at a football stadium in Ansan.

"The OCA will not tolerate any misbehaviour of this nature and we will take a tough stance. We cannot accept this, so we have removed him from the Games."

South Korean police had said on Tuesday they had charged the Iran official following a complaint by a female volunteer. Police said he had admitted touching the volunteer but did not consider his actions illegal.

The statement comes after South Korean police charged a player from Palestine's football team with sexual harassment following a complaint from a female staff member at the athletes' village in Incheon, west of Seoul.

Police told Reuters by telephone the incident occurred after the player suggested they take a photograph together on Tuesday.

The player, who was not identified, was charged without physical detention and the case transferred to the prosecutor's office, the police confirmed.

Incheon organisers (Iagoc) said earlier on Wednesday that after the Iranian equipment official had been charged, they had warned all of the competing countries that such behaviour would be met with a strong response.

The Iagoc official said they would meet to discuss the matter before taking further action.