'They want to kill them': Iran players refuse to sing national anthem at World Cup in protest
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The Iranian players refused to sing their national anthem ahead of their World Cup opener against England.
Supporters and players alike made their anti-government protest on football’s biggest stage.
The Iranian players stood blank-faced as their anthem played out at Khalifa International stadium whilst supporters from the nation erupted with jeers leaving some fans in tears.
This is what courage looks like— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) November 21, 2022
The Iranian football team refuses to sing the national anthem on biggest stage in the world
Eleven men, standing shoulder to shoulder, sending out a message without uttering a word#WorldCup #WorldCup2022 #Qatar2022 #Iran pic.twitter.com/n8gtQed4Fl
Chants of ‘Say her name, Mahsa Amini’ rung out throughout the stadium, whilst shirts and banners read ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’.
The middle eastern country has been shaken by months of nationwide protests following the death of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini while tin morality police custody.
Amini dies three days after being allegedly arrested for breaching the Islamic republic’s dress code for women, which includes wearing a mandatory headscarf.
The player’s were ultimately praised online for their bravery in taking a stance and standing with the demonstrators against the Iranian regime.
Really powerful moment as Iran players do not sing their national anthem, with it backtracked by audible boos and jeers from their fans.— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) November 21, 2022
Loud whistling from Iran fans for their own national anthem, many of whom are protesting against their regime pic.twitter.com/nk65KVW00U— Sean Ingle (@seaningle) November 21, 2022
Whoa! Iran’s team refuses to sing their national anthem in protest against the Islamic regime at the #FIFAWorldCup— Monica Verma (@TrulyMonica) November 21, 2022
Even some Iranian members of the crowd booed at their own anthem.
Iran coach Carlos Queiroz asked fans to back off the team, insisting that no matter what the players did they would be crucified.
He told reporters: “Whatever they do, whatever they say, they want to ‘kill’ them.
“Can you imagine whatever you say or do, you’re killed. Let them play the game!”
The Portuguese manager admitted that the political unrest had taken a serious toll on the squad.
He said: “It is not right to come to this World Cup and ask them to do things that are not their responsibility. They want to bring pride and joy for the people.
“You don’t even imagine behind the scenes what these kids have been living in the last few days, just because they want to express themselves as footballers.”
Adding: “Of course, we have feelings and beliefs and in due time, at the right moment, we will express them.”
Iran captain Ehsan Hajsafi earlier became the first player from the national team to speak out against the horrific scenes and stood in solidarity with the protestors.
He said: “They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathise with them regarding the conditions.
“We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy.
“We are here but it does not mean we should not be their voice or we should not respect them.”
Featured Image Credit: @StefSimanowitz/Twitter. Alamy.
Topics: Football, Qatar, Football World Cup