FIFA World Cup 2022: Iran team declines to sing the national anthem in light of widespread protests

FIFA World Cup 2022
November 22, 2022

Before their debut encounter with England at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Monday, the Iranian football team’s participants chose not to sing their national anthem, ostensibly in support of demonstrators back home.


According to Al Jazeera, the national team sympathizes with the anti-government demonstrations in response to Mahsa Amini’s passing.


Cameras on television captured the starting players standing stoically but without singing as the Iranian national anthem played at Khalifa International Stadium. Iran fell short to England in the game, 6-2.


Following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in police custody in September, Iran entered the tournament against a backdrop of widespread anti-regime protests.


Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, died under the morality police’s custody in September, sparking the unrest in Iran. Protests have grown since then and are now occurring nationwide, calling into question the administration’s legitimacy even as security forces have repressed them. According to Al Jazeera, the violence has claimed hundreds of lives.


The Iranian team has previously supported the demonstrators by refusing to perform the national anthem. The group decided to wear black jackets to conceal the national colors for their friendly match against Senegal in late September.


President Ebrahim Raisi met with the players before the team’s flight to Doha for the World Cup. Protesters did not take well to the meeting, and on the night before the competition, team banners were set on fire.


According to CBS News, Iranian activist Masih Alinejad, who lives in New York, went further in her criticism of the squad.

Iran is the only nation competing in the World Cup where the populace wants the national team to fail since it represents the regime rather than the people, she said.


Iran’s basketball, water polo, and beach football teams have recently opted not to perform the national anthem. Alireza Jahanbakhsh, the captain of Iran’s football team, declined to say whether or not his team would serve the national anthem during a news conference on Wednesday.


He said, “That’s something that needs to be decided in the team, which we already discussed and everyone is talking about.


Some Iran supporters in Qatar expressed sympathy for the demonstrators at home before Monday’s game. They were sporting T-shirts that read “Women, Life, Freedom,” the catchphrase for the movement that has grown since Amini’s passing, according to Al Jazeera.


The nation’s top athletes’ most audacious action to date is the football team’s choice to remain silent during the national anthem on the sport’s most prominent platform. Players may or may not experience penalties.


According to Al Jazeera, defender Ehsan Hajsafi made history by publicly endorsing the demonstrations as the first Iranian World Cup participant on Sunday.


They need to be aware that “we are with them, that we support them, and that we are sympathetic to the conditions,” he stated.


Before the game, England also made a powerful political statement by kneeling to protest racism and inequality. They didn’t kneel during their September friendly, but they have decided to do so before each World Cup match.


Gareth Southgate, manager of England, stated on Sunday, “We think it is a big statement to go across the world for young people, in particular, to realize that diversity is vitally important.”


According to the Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency, at least 419 demonstrators have died since September, including 60 minors, and more than 17,000 people have been detained. Since Mahsa Amini, 22, was killed on September 16 while in the custody of the police, protests have erupted across Iran.


The protests, which women first spearheaded, have developed into the most significant anti-government rallies the administration has encountered since it came to power during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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