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Sports

Iranian Footballers Refuse to Sing National Anthem at World Cup

November 21, 2022
Akhtar Safi
1 min read
Iranian state television censored footage of the players lining up and refusing to sing before the match as the anthem was played.
Iranian state television censored footage of the players lining up and refusing to sing before the match as the anthem was played.

Iran's national football team players refused to sing their country's anthem, at today’s World Cup match against England, in a show of support for protesters in the country.

Every player on Team “Melli" remained silent as the Iranian national anthem was played at the Khalifa International Stadium. Some fans were seen making thumbs-down gestures.

Iranian state television censored footage of the players lining up and refusing to sing before the match as the anthem was played.

Protesters in Iran have been seen burning photographers of national footballers attacking their social media accounts for what people believe is a deliberate silence over the nationwide anti-government protests that have rocked Iran since September. Some have suggested that the team has remained silent to placate elements of the security forces who are with them at the Qatar World Cup. 

Football is both popular and political in Iran and political interference in the sport has been the norm since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Top footballers are expected to toe the line on all matters, including any unrelated to sport, or to at least remain silent.

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