Dhe players of the Iranian national team played against England did not sing the national anthem. Iranian activists see it as a gesture of support for the nationwide protests in the country. Before the game this Monday, they had hoped for a declaration of solidarity from the players.
The Iranian state broadcaster interrupted the live broadcast during the anthem. The players could now face consequences. In Iran there had been speculation that they might be banned should they remain silent at the anthem.
Iranian captain Ehsan Hajsafi on Sunday expressed his condolences to the grieving families of the victims in Iran. The team has to accept that the conditions in the country are not good and the people are not happy. The players are aware of that. According to estimates by human rights activists, at least 360 people have been killed in the nationwide protests in Iran so far.
Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi said before the tournament that the team wanted to Qatar not be influenced by the protests at home. “We also have other responsibilities to Iranian society, but here our focus is on football,” he said.