World Players dismayed and saddened by execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari


World Players dismayed and saddened by execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari

The World Players Association is deeply dismayed and saddened by the execution of champion wrestler, Navid Afkari, from Iran. 

Navid was sentenced to death after being tortured into making a false confession for the murder of a security agent during demonstrations in 2018.

Navid’s only ‘crime’ in the eyes of the Iranian regime was to peacefully protest against the government.

World Players Executive Director, Brendan Schwab, said:

“The shocking injustice of Navid’s case sparked a global outpouring of support by courageous champions of human rights in sport – but tragically the Iranian regime still took his life. 

“Navid was targeted because of his success and popularity as an athlete, and this brutality was held up as an example to terrorize the public and silence dissent. We must now unite in his memory to ensure that others do not suffer this fate.”

“We commend and wholeheartedly thank all those who sought justice for Navid, particularly the wrestling community led by Sally Roberts, and human rights organizations around the world. 

“We are determined that Navid’s life will not be lost in vain. We will continue to fight for the rights of athletes and to ensure that the world of sport holds those who abuse human rights to the highest standards of accountability. There is a lot more work to do be done in Navid’s name. But today we have to share our hearts with Navid’s family and friends who are suffering an irreversible loss.” 

The World Players Association, part of UNI Global Union, is the exclusive global voice of organized players and athletes across professional sport. It brings together 85,000 players through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries. Its role is to ensure that the voice of organized players is heard at the highest levels in the decision-making of international sport. 

World Players is a founding member of the Sport & Rights Alliance – a coalition of global non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, ILGA World, the International Trade Union Confederation and Transparency International Germany.  

For more information please contact, Leonie Guguen, Senior Communications Manager, UNI Global Union. Tel: +41 79 137 5436 or Email: