Iran chose not to sing anthem at World Cup opener as England take the knee

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Iran chose not to sing anthem at World Cup opener as England take the knee

Iran chose not to sing anthem at World Cup opener as England take the knee

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2022

Players of Iran’s national soccer team chose not to sing their country’s anthem at their opening World Cup match against England on Monday (November 21), in an apparent show of support for protesters back home.

The players were silent as the anthem was played at the Khalifa International Stadium, where Iranian fans gathered in the stands and shouted as the music was played. Some were seen making thumbs-down gestures.

More than two months of protests in Iran, sparked by the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police, are one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical leaders since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranian state television, during its live broadcast, censored the footage of the players lining up before the match as the anthem was played.

England players took the knee ahead of kick off as a symbol of anti-discrimination, with captain Harry Kane wearing a black armband with the words “No Discrimination” on it.

England together with Wales, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark decided not wear ‘OneLove’ rainbow armbands at the World Cup under pressure from FIFA, their associations said in a joint statement on Monday.

Iran chose not to sing anthem at World Cup opener as England take the knee

FIFA has threatened to issue yellow cards to any player wearing the multi-coloured armband which was introduced to support diversity and inclusion.

England captain Harry Kane spoke on Sunday (November 20) of his desire to wear the armband in Monday’s Group B opener against Iran.

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