Iranian Football Fans Boycott Qatar World Cup because of disappointment with Iranian national team leaning towards government
The fans here feel that the Iranian national football team has not done enough to support the protests and the criticism of the government that they see has killed hundreds of people.
But a group of Iranian football fans living abroad decided to travel to Qatar to watch the World Cup. so that the flames of protest may continue to burn in this field of competition
“I’m glad to be here. and did this Because I saw the fear in their eyes,” said Tara (her real name), a female soccer fan from Iran.
He told the BBC: The World Cup stadium was packed with supporters of the Iranian government who came to support the national team playing here.
Amir (alias) also travels to Doha with his wife Rana (alias).
“I think the Iranian government does not want the opposition to come to the World Cup. So that only the people who supported them were here. [สนามแข่ง]he said
Rana added, “This should be our honeymoon trip.”
However, this visit to the competition raised conflicting feelings in her heart.
“I feel like I’m grieving. My countrymen are dead. Although I was excited about coming here and I enjoyed the game. But I wasn’t happy,” he explained.
“They put the team on the other side of us.”
Iran has been plagued by protests that have spread across the country since September after a 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini died in custody by authorities they called the “moral police ” for allegedly breaking the so-called hijab rules.
Many Iranians doubt the Iranian national football team. With the nickname “Tîm Melli” (Tîm Melli), they stand either on the protesters or the government.
before leaving to compete in Qatar Melly met with President Ibrahim Raisi and the photos circulated on social media drew attention to Iran’s opponents who slammed and called for a boycott of the team.
“Mellie’s team belongs to the people. Voiceless people,” says Tara. “Mellie’s team was the only thing that held us all together…but they (the government) put the team against us.”
In the first game, everyone was excited.
Rana said, “I want Iran to win. But at the same time I feel it’s not the right thing.”
But seeing women wearing T-shirts And the nails that read “Women, Life and Freedom” cheered on the crowd of protesters in the stadium.
“It’s like a secret club. But that’s no secret,” said Rana, “We support each other.”
The Iranian national team refused to sing the national anthem in the opening match.
But anti-government supporters made it possible for the world to hear them. Shouting the name of “Ali Karimi,” a former footballer who dared to openly criticize the Iranian authorities. and one of the most well-known activists
But the atmosphere in the second game of the Iranian national team was very different from the first game.
Despite rigorous security checks before entering the stadium, Tara, Amir and Rana managed to smuggle in protest gear.
“It was scary. You could feel like you’re in the middle of a threat,” Tara said.
The three told the BBC: It was felt that more supporters of the Iranian government attended this game than the previous one.
“As soon as we started shouting protest slogans. Those in the next row started saying, ‘Dignified Iran Proud people of Iran.” This is the slogan they used to silence us,” Tara recalled.
The three protesters went on to say that they had seen some insiders signaling to security officers to confiscate protest equipment from fans on the field.
When asked how he felt when Iran scored their first goal against Wales,
Tara said, “We didn’t cheer each other up much. My 3 friends and I were hugging and crying.”
Qatar and Iran have enjoyed good diplomatic relations for many years.
As of 2017, Iran is one of the few countries in the region that supports Qatar while other Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia. and the United Arab Emirates announced to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. They accused the country of destabilizing the region. By supporting the group that calls itself Islamic State (ISIS).
For this reason, Iran’s anti-government football fans felt insecure about expressing their views at the World Cup in Qatar.
Tara said, “I don’t feel safe here. He feels that there are many Iranian officials following threats. “
Despite the risks, Tara, Rana and Amir still attended Match 3 because it was their mission to come here.
“I heard that some journalists did not get visas to come here. So we become more important,” said Rana.
“Now we’re reporters,” Tara said.