Explained: Why Iranian players opt not to sing national anthem before Iran's FIFA World Cup 2022 match against England
Before the traditional kick-off of their World Cup 2022 opener against England, the 11 Iranian players expressed no emotion or reaction when Iran's national anthem was loudly heard at the Khalifa International Stadium.
With an aim to end its 56-year wait for a FIFA World Cup title, Harry Kane's England locked horns with Iran in the Group B opener at the showpiece event on Monday. Taking on the mighty Three Lions at the grandest stage of them all, Iran's national football team led by Alireza Jahanbakhsh courted controversy by refusing to sing the country's national anthem in the build-up to the Group B encounter at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Before the traditional kick-off of their World Cup 2022 opener against England, the 11 Iranian players expressed no emotion or reaction when Iran's national anthem was loudly heard at the Khalifa International Stadium. So why all 11 players of the Iranian team did not sing their national anthem? According to Iran skipper Jahanbakhsh, the members of the national team were hoping to take a "collective" decision about refusing to sing the anthem in the World Cup opener.
On Monday, the Iranian players refused to sing the national anthem to extend their support to the anti-government protesters in the country. Iran is facing nationwide protests after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody in Tehran. Amini was arrested after allegedly violating Islamic dress codes. She tragically passed away three days after her arrest in Tehran. According to news agency AFP, some Iranian athletes have decided not to sing the national anthem or celebrate the victories of the national team in support of the protesters.
Earlier, defender Ehsan Hajsaf became the first player of Iran's national team to open up about the anti-government protests in the country. "They should know that we are with them. And we support them. And we sympathise with them regarding the conditions," the AEK Athens star was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters. "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," he added.