Iranian Footballers who refused to sing their national anthem prior to their match against England in FIFA World Cup, 2022 in solidarity with the women back home may face consequences such as arrest.
From the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, it has been submerged in controversies for its guidelines from the appropriate dress code to the ban on the selling of Beers inside, from banning the players to wear one love armband to the detention of a US Journalist for wearing a Rainbow color t-shirt.
In recent controversies, Iranian footballers have topped the list by refusing to sing their National Anthem before their match against England on Monday in support of the women in their fight against the cruelty of the authoritarian government that could face the consequences back home.
While their national anthem ‘Sorude Melliye Jomhuriye Eslamiye Iran’ was playing inside the International Stadium in Doha, Qatar all of the 11 footballers didn’t mumble a word and were spotted looking emptily in the skies or looking down at the turf. This move was wooed and cheered by many Iranian supporters from the stadium.
The Iranian football players and their families can face the consequences like detention, said David E. Guinn, a University of Albany research professor of international law and human rights. “While the public standing of the players might shield them for a time, particularly while they are competing in the World Cup, that standing will also make them of greater concern to the regime. They don’t want prominent individuals stepping forward to feed the flames,” professor Guinn added.
Why Did Iran Choose Not To Sing
Iranian players chose not to sing their national anthem in solidarity with the women in Iran, to support the anti-hijab & anti-governmental civilian protest that started in Iran. The death of a 22-year-old, Jina Mahsa Amini in police custody after she was detained by Iran’s Morality Police ‘The Guidance Patrol’ for not wearing a Hijab properly sparked a massive protest all around the globe.
Since the protest began 2 months ago, at least 326 people have been killed and 15,000 dissenters have been arrested, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights NGO.
READ MORE: Iran’s Protest: Women Behind The Veil
Iranian Government Response
The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, against whom most of the citizen’s rage is directed, is seen blaming the foreign enemies for their support in the unrest. He recently warned that “Until this hour, thank God, the enemies have been defeated. But the enemies have a new trick every day, and with today’s defeat, they may target different classes such as workers and women.” The chant that can be heard daily on the streets of Iran is “Death To The Dictator”.
Other Controversies Revolving FIFA
One Love Armband
The bands are a protest against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination laws in the host nation of Qatar. According to another FIFA rule, no player is allowed to wear ‘One Love Armband’, and it will impose sporting sanctions if the captains wear the armbands on the field of play, and if any player does not adhere to the rule they’ll be given a yellow card.
The captains, including England’s Harry Kane and Gareth Bale of Wales, had planned to wear the armband during matches to promote diversity and inclusion.
“We are very frustrated by the FIFA decision, which we believe is unprecedented,” the statement read.
Detention Of US Journalist For Wearing Colorful t-shirt
A US Journalist, Grant Wahl covering FIFA World Cup in Qatar was detained for supporting the LGBTQ community by wearing a rainbow color t-shirt. He claimed that he was asked to change his t-shirt, otherwise, he won’t be permitted inside the stadium.
FIFA World Cup, 2022 has gained many controversies even before its kick-off. Iranian footballers refusing to sing their national anthem was even supported by their fans who were seen holding placards with the words: “Freedom for Iran”’ and “Women, Life, Freedom.” There was a wave of support on Twitter and other social media for this move.
The State TV in Iran was reporting live and instinctively interrupted its anthem coverage switching to previously shown footage.
The match however proved anticlimactic, as Iran lost to England. England scored 6 goals against Iran with Iran only able to score 2 goals. The Iran players did not celebrate the goals as well.