Why Iran Players Refused To Sing National Anthem Before Facing England At 2022 World Cup


Iran players refused to sing their national anthem before the World Cup game against England in a pointed mark of protest towards the country's regime.

Team Melli fans at the Khalifa International Stadium could be heard jeering to drown out the sound of the anthem, which expresses its desire for the Islamic Republic to live forever. One group of Iran fans also produced a flag in the stands which read: "Woman, Life, Freedom."

Hundreds of protestors have died in Tehran and other cities following the death in morality police custody of Mahsa Amini two months ago. The 22-year-old woman died in a prison having been arrested for not wearing her hijab correctly.

Saman Ghoddos, the only Iranian in the Premier League, last week told Mirror Football that it was right for players to speak up in support of those who are calling for change - regardless of potential repercussions.

“Of course,” the Brentford player said of feeling a responsibility to stand up and back the protestors. “I don't want to mix politics with football but football is coming to the side right now, because people are losing their lives fighting for freedom.

“Clearly a change needs to come and it's already been going on for so long. We all want to change.

“If you think it’s the right thing to do, I think you should [speak out] because you’re a famous athlete. If you can put a light on what’s going on you should do it – with pressure or without pressure because it’s the right thing to do.”

Iranian women are denied many freedoms - including attending football matches. There had also been calls for FIFA to kick the team out of the World Cup because their regime is supplying drones to Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Ghoddos added: "No one is happy about it, everybody wants to see a change. It’s a change that is very easy. What the people want is nothing special, it’s just freedom. I don’t want to say ‘Yeah, go fight for it’ because I don’t think violence is the right way. But something has to change and this has been going on for too long.

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