Iran national football club on Monday refused to sing national anthem during first match against England at FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar as an act of support for anti-government protesters. The match venue is Khalifa International Stadium in Doha
Twitter lauded this gesture at a time when the England team ditched the plan to wear "One Love" armbands to avoid bookings on field.
"On a day when England back down from wearing an armband over concerns about a player getting booked, Iran players abstain from singing their anthem in protest at their government. That’s real bravery," said a Twitter user.
"Kudos to the Iran team who refused to sing the national anthem protesting the regime. They will go back to a repressive regime and have way more guts than European teams who couldn't wear pro-LGBTI+ armbands out of fear of suspension," said another Twitter user.
Dozens of Iranian public figures, athletes and artists have displayed solidarity with the protesters - but not the national soccer team, until Monday's match when all team members remained silent when the national anthem was played.
Iranian state television did not show the players lined up for the anthem before the match got under way in Qatar, just across the Gulf from their homeland.
Ahead of the match, no Iranian player had voiced support for the demonstrations by compatriots from all walks of life, one of the most sustained challenges to the cleric elite since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
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