Speaking on Sporting TV last week, Carlos Xavier – a former player of Sporting CP – used hostile words to criticize the Iranian for the way he intends to convince the referees to blow in their whistles for a spot-kick, calling on the match official of the game featuring Porto and Arouca to show double yellow cards to “a Muslim, who did not even know how to swim when he first arrived in Portugal, but is now a good diver.”
His remarks came after Porto was held to a 1-1 home draw in the Portuguese top flight, with the ref, Miguel Nogueira, pointing to the spot in the 90th minute, after a challenge on Taremi in the box, only to see his decision overturned by the VAR.
Porto was awarded a second penalty with 12 minutes into stoppage time, when Taremi was brought down in the area again, but Brazilian Galeno was denied by Arouca keeper Ignacio De Arruabarrena.
“The Iranian Football Federation and the members of the national team condemn the absurd and disgraceful comments against the committed player Mehdi Taremi as friendship and kindness remain the global language of football,” the Iranian governing body’s statement read on Sunday.
Porto, meanwhile, was quick to hit back at Xavier, asking what human rights organizations – including SOS Racisme, Amnesty Portugal, European Commission against Racism, and the Commission Equality and Racial Discrimination – as well as the Portuguese government and the Ministry of Justice think of the pundit’s “xenophobic, racist, and hate speech” comments, adding on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday: “This is too serious to go unharmed.”
In a U-turn on his previous criticism, Xavier apologized to the Iranian player later on Friday, saying: “I am not the kind of person who uses a xenophobic and racist language as I have friends of all colors and religious beliefs. I have utmost respect for Taremi and the great job he has done in his national team.”