Regardless of whether Gianni Infantino and FIFA like it or not, much of the opening days of the World Cup have focused on politics in their words, but what many feel are simply human rights.
Captains of England, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Wales, Switzerland and the Netherlands were all set to wear a rainbow armbands in order to protest the lack of LGBTQI+ rights in Qatar, where people can be arrested for being homosexual.
However after FIFA made it known that any player doing so would be booked at kick off, those nations then backed down from the protest upon finding out there would be consequences for doing so.
Meanwhile before kick off, many Iranian fans made their voices heard in protest, as they booed their national anthem.
Breaking: Iran national football club stand mournfully and refuse to sing national anthem of clerical regime during first match against England at World Cup 2022 in act of protest against Khamenei henchmen’s violence pic.twitter.com/qPmX2hdMKP
— Borzou Daragahi 🖊🗒 (@borzou) November 21, 2022
It was an emotional scene as an Iranian fan was seen crying and applauding the players, who refused to sing the national anthem too.
And the courage of Iran's players not to sing the national anthem, given how the regime will view that back home, shows real bravery https://t.co/VHz6A0EKVe
— Sean Ingle (@seaningle) November 21, 2022
After the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police, large protests broke out in Iran demanding equality for women. Thousands of arrests have been made as the Iranian state cracked down upon those protests and have handed out several death sentences too.
The build-up to the tournament has been dominated by those events, with fighting breaking out between players due to the issue, and seemingly it was requested by the Iranian Government that star striker Serdar Azmoun not be selected for expressing his support for the protests.
While it should be pointed out that homosexuality is also illegal in Iran, their actions will send a strong message back to a country no doubt watching intently on. Meanwhile the word ‘spineless’ has been levelled at the football associations who were not willing to risk a booking for their views.