Iranians At World Cup Protest During National Anthem


Photo Courtesy and Design of Hindustan News Hub.

Mira Ivanis, Contributor/Editor

The World Cup, which is hosted every 4 years, is seen as a time of unity for the beloved sport of soccer–or as others may call it, football. As the world cup begins, a series of teams will compete every day while the event is hosted by a new country every year. This year, Qatar will host.

During one of the first matches of the year, Iran vs England, numerous fans and athletes alike in solidarity did not participate in the national anthem and booed as it played. The athletes themselves were quiet as the thousands of watchers roared in anger during the anti-government protest.

Iran soccer team silent during national anthem at its first World Cup game
Alongside of the many outrages, Iran’s goalie Ali Beiranvand collided with fellow teammate Majid Hosseini, resulting in a concussion but was forced back into the game following his injury. But almost immediately after restart, Beiranvand called out to the bench for a sub, who would be Hossein Hosseini. Photo Courtesy of CNBC.

Over the past few weeks, over four hundred people ((including 58 minors) were killed during the protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Amini was a Kurdish woman who was arrested for wearing a hijab “improperly” but later died while in custody. Stories spread that she had died after being beaten with a baton; police later released footage claiming that she had “suffered a heart attack.”

Following the news of her death, daily marches have taken place that called out the oppression of women in Iran and the strict laws, and, on an even bigger scale, the regime that controls the country.

Qatar’s government came under criticism when its treatment of migrant workers came to light. According to a report published by the Guardian, 6,500 migrant workers have died since 2010, many of whom have worked on numerous World Cup structures. Rothna Begum says that the migrant workers “faced widespread wage theft, injuries, and thousands of unexplained deaths.”
During the pre-match conference, Iran’s captain Ehsan Hajsafi said, “we have to accept that conditions in our country are not right. Our people are not happy…Whatever we have is for them and we must fight, we must perform the best we can. I hope conditions change as to the expectations of the people.”

According to Daily Mail, Catherine Perez-Shakdam, a specialist for Irn in the Henry Jackson Society told Mail Online that the team and the people in the stands “will likely be ‘severely punished for such an open display of defiance.”
“The refusal… Not to sing the Islamic Republic’s national anthem will be a decision the players will pay for dearly.”
Former Iranian footballer Ali Daei, according to Aljazeera, said that he would not watch the game in Qatar to stand in solidarity with the protests in Iran.

Fans in the stands were seen holding protest papers and posters.

FIFA World Cup-2022: Iran players silence during national anthem… protest against government attitude at home
Photo Courtesy of India Posts English.
Iran players stay silent during national anthem at World Cup, fans boo against backdrop of protests - Eurosport
Photo Courtesy of Eurosport.

Such courage and dignity in the face of absolutism,” Perez-Shakdam says, “most certainly deserves our recognition.”
Though Iran lost to England, they played with all their might.