Football: Iran players in Asian Cup warned not to pose for selfies with female fans

SYDNEY (AFP) - Iran's footballers have been warned they could face punishment if they take selfies with female fans who have turned out in large numbers at the Asian Cup.

The head of the Iranian Football Federation's moral committee said players risked being used as a "political tool" if snapped with women fans.

Women are banned from attending men's sports events in the Islamic republic but have flocked to see Iran's games at the Asian Cup in Australia.

Ali Akbar Mohamedzade, head of the moral committee of the Iranian Football Federation, issued the warning last week as photos of players with women fans circulated on social media.

"National team players should be aware that they won't be used as a political tool so that those who take pictures with them don't use these photos against the players," Iran's Shahrvand newspaper quoted him as saying.

No detail was given on what punishment the players might face.

Enthusiastic male and female fans of Iran, many wearing the team shirt, have been a feature of the Asian Cup.

Iran's Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz has carefully steered clear of any controversy, giving a firm "no comment" when asked about the presence of women fans.

Three-time champions Iran are already through to the quarter-finals.