The Iran’s men soccer team showed its support for protesters back home as they kept quiet during the team’s national anthem in their opening World Cup game against England.
All of the starting 11 players were silent as the anthem was played at the Khalifa International Stadium.
More than two months of nationwide protests, sparked by the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police, are among the boldest challenges posed to Iran’s clerical leaders since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
A popular revolt sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest for flouting the strict Islamic dress code has gripped Iran for over two months. Dozens of Iranian public figures, athletes and artists have displayed solidarity with the protesters.
Iran defender Ehsan Hajsafi cautiously aired his concern at a press conference on Sunday about the political crisis and said he hoped his team could be a voice for the people.
“We have to accept the conditions in our country are not right and our people are not happy. We are here but it does not mean we should not be their voice. I hope conditions change as to the expectations of the people,” he said, without directly mentioning the unrest.