ran players listen to the national anthem ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
DOHA: Iran's players did not sing their national anthem before their opening game of the World Cup in Qatar against England on Monday.
Ahead of the game, captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh said the team would decide "collectively" whether or not to refuse to sing the anthem in support of anti-government protesters in Iran.
The 11 Iranian players stood impassively and grim-faced as their anthem rang out around the Khalifa International Stadium.
Iran has been rocked by two months of nationwide protests since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in morality police custody on September 16.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin, died three days after her arrest in Tehran over an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's dress code for women, which includes the mandatory hijab headscarf.
Some Iranian athletes have chosen not to sing the national anthem or celebrate their victories in support of the protesters.