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Iran denies sentencing Cristiano Ronaldo to 99 lashes

Viral posts claim he was punished for hugging a woman in Iran


Claim: Football star Cristiano Ronaldo has been sentenced to 99 lashes for hugging a woman in Iran during his recent trip to the country.

Fact: Iran, via its embassy in Spain, has denied the issuance of any court ruling against any international athlete in Iran.

Fact or Fiction?

On 25 October 2023, X (formerly Twitter) user Atul (@GA70690451) claimed that Iran has announced a punishment of 99 lashes for football star Cristiano Ronaldo for hugging a woman during his recent trip to the country.

The tweet reads as follows:

“Cristiano Ronaldo was presented a painting by Fatima Hamami an lranian unmarried girl with 85% body paralysis. Ronaldo hugged her. Iranian lawyer filed charges a Ronaldo faces punishment of 99 lashes.This is the rule which 35 crores plus some sickulars are wanting in Bharat !!”

Hamami posted videos and photos from her interaction with the footballer on Instagram, which has now gone viral. This video, which also accompanies claims about Ronaldo’s sentence of 99 lashes, shows the Iranian woman presenting paintings to Ronaldo as she sits on a wheelchair. The footballer then gifts her a jersey and hugs her. 

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false. Iran, via its embassy in Spain, took to Twitter to deny the claim that Ronaldo is facing a charge of “99 lashes” for hugging the Iranian woman. 

“We strongly deny the issuance of any court ruling against any international athlete in Iran. It is a matter of concern that the publication of such unfounded news could overshadow crimes against humanity and war crimes against the oppressed Palestinian nation. It should be noted that Cristiano Ronaldo traveled to Iran on September 18 and 19 to play in an official soccer match and was very well received by the people and the authorities. His sincere and humane meeting with Fatemeh Hamami was also praised and admired by both the people and the country’s sports authorities,” the tweet reads. 

The Portuguese star arrived in Tehran on 18 September with the Saudi club, Al Nassr for an Asian Football Confederation Champions (AFC) League fixture against Iranian club, Persepolis FC. Thousands of football fans turned up to welcome Ronaldo ahead of the 19 September match which was played behind closed doors.

Under Iran’s Islamic laws mixing between genders and public displays of affection like hugging are heavily restricted in the country. 

In 2019, for example, an Iranian couple was arrested by the police over a public marriage proposal, after which the woman was seen hugging her partner. Therefore, it is understandable why Ronaldo’s actions came under public scrutiny.


The claim was found here, here, here, here and with an Urdu caption here on Facebook.

It was shared here, here, here, here and here on X.

The tweet by @MeghUpdates gained significant traction with 1.1 million views, 16,100 likes and 5,100 reposts.

Conclusion: Ronaldo has not been sentenced to a punishment of 99 lashes by the Iranian state.

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