FIFA World Cup: Why Iran players refused to sing national anthem in Qatar

Iran’s national football team players refused to sing their national anthem as they faced England in a Group B game of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha, Qatar on Monday evening (November 21).

Before the start of every match, teams line up on the pitch and both teams’ national anthems are played.

When Iran’s national anthem was played at Khalifa International Stadium, the starting 11 players who were on the pitch, decided to stay silent.

This move comes as a mark of support for the anti-government protests back home.

Iran is currently playing in its third straight World Cup, and overall sixth. It has not progressed past the first round in the previous editions.

The protests in Iran began in September as an emotional outpouring over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman held by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly enforced dress code.

Iranian authorities have dismissed the unrest as a purported Western plot, without providing evidence.

Public anger in Iran has coalesced around Amini’s death, prompting girls and women to remove their mandatory headscarves on the street in a show of solidarity

Other segments of society, including oil workers, have also joined the movement, which has spread to several cities.