Iran’s national football players have remained completely silent during their own national anthem before their World Cup opener against England.

Iran’s national football players have remained completely silent during their own national anthem before their World Cup opener against England. In doing so, the team sent a message of solidarity to the regime critics in their home country in view of the almost 400 dead. At the World Cup test against Nicaragua at the beginning of November, only two players, Vahid Amiri and Mehdi Torabi sang along, the rest remained silent. 

Openly critical players like Leverkusen’s Sardar Azmoun or Saman Ghoddos from Brentford FC are part of coach Carlos Queiroz’s squad – which surprised many observers. Before departure, however, a group photo of the team with President Ebrahim Raisi caused great excitement. The Iranian basketball players, water polo players, and sitting volleyball players had also recently refused to sing along with the anthem in solidarity with the protesters.

The English also sent a clear message before the opening match and made a statement against racism with their now obligatory genuflection.