‘That is what braveness seems like’: Gamers make courageous stand at World Cup

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Iran’s World Cup gamers selected to not sing their nationwide anthem in obvious assist for anti-government protesters of their homeland on Monday, as European groups ditched rainbow-themed armbands.

Led by captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh, the Iranian gamers stood impassively as their anthem rang out earlier than their opening match of the event in opposition to England within the Qatari capital Doha.

Forward of the sport, Jahanbakhsh mentioned the staff would resolve collectively whether or not or to not refuse to sing the anthem in solidarity with the nationwide protests triggered by the dying of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in morality police custody on September 16.

Amini, an Iranian of Kurdish origin, died three days after her arrest in Tehran over an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s gown code for girls.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz admitted his gamers are feeling the pressure of protests within the Islamic republic after they suffered a heavy 6-2 defeat by England of their World Cup Group B opener on Monday.

Talking after his staff have been routed by England, Iran boss Queiroz made it clear the political unrest had taken a toll on the squad.

“It’s not proper to return to this World Cup and ask them to do issues that aren’t their accountability. They wish to convey delight and pleasure for the individuals,” Queiroz instructed reporters.

“You don’t even think about behind the scenes what these youngsters have been dwelling in the previous few days, simply because they wish to categorical themselves as footballers.” Queiroz mentioned that regardless of the gamers mentioned, they might not win. “After all now we have emotions and beliefs and in due time, on the proper second, we are going to categorical them,” he mentioned.

England’s captain Harry Kane had been anticipated to put on a rainbow-themed armband for the match, however hours earlier than kick-off, the English, German and 5 different European federations mentioned they have been abandoning the plan to put on the “One Love” insignia.

They’ve been extensively considered as a symbolic protest in opposition to legal guidelines in Qatar, the place homosexuality is unlawful.

The seven groups mentioned they felt that they had no alternative however to ditch the plan due to the danger their captains could be punished by soccer’s world governing physique.

“FIFA has been very clear that it’ll impose sporting sanctions if our captains put on the armbands on the sector of play,” the federations of England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland mentioned in an announcement.

They mentioned that they had been ready to pay fines that may usually apply to breaches of equipment rules as a result of that they had “a robust dedication to sporting the armband”.

“Nevertheless, we can not put our gamers within the scenario the place they is likely to be booked and even compelled to depart the sector of play,” they mentioned.

— with AFP

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