The initial banner published by the US Men’s team, showing the altered version of Iran’s flag
(Photo Credit: Twitter)
The US Men’s National Soccer Team has come under fire for a since-deleted tweet in which the football association displayed Iran’s national flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic on 27 November.
The team shared a banner showing the Group B standings, which included the altered flag. The same was initially shared on Facebook and Instagram. The decision was allegedly a subtle move in solidarity with the protests in Iran and a show of support for Iranian women’s rights.
In response, Iran’s football federation filed a complaint to FIFA against the US soccer federation for removing the word “Allah” from the Iranian flag, demanding serious measures by FIFA.
The legal advisor of the Iranian Football Federation says the sports association will file a complaint against the US Soccer Team to FIFA’s Ethics Committee after the US Men's National Soccer Team disrespected the national flag of Islamic Republic of Iran. https://t.co/z7uOrykk9k
— Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_EN) November 27, 2022
Political activist Camellia Senemar published a tweet about the alteration, claiming that she previously spoke with “US soccer staff” in Qatar and asked them to remove the symbol. She, too, has since deleted her tweet.
Senemar was previously interviewed by CNN after trying to attend the Iran-Wales match wearing a patch that says “Women, Life, Freedom” – the slogan of the Iran protests – in condemnation of “Iran’s crackdown on protestors.”
"They were going to bar us access from the stadium"
During Iran's match with Wales earlier today, @CamelliaSen tried to bring in a patch to protest Iran's crackdown on protestors but struggled to enter the stadium. She joined me on set to tell the full story. pic.twitter.com/2uI5IPr5zf
— Becky Anderson (@BeckyCNN) November 25, 2022
The deleted tweet by the US Men’s team was met with a wave of backlash from Iranians and non-Iranians alike, many of whom also pointed out that the action was in violation of Article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, which carries a suspension of 10 matches.
According to Art. 13 – FDC – Discrimination of FIFA, such act should be sanctioned with suspension of 10 matches. pic.twitter.com/k3gSP0LthR
— Arya 🇮🇷 (@AryJeay) November 27, 2022
Following the criticism, the team discreetly deleted its tweet and replaced all its social media banners with visuals displaying the Islamic Republic’s actual flag.
A day earlier, Iran’s national football coach, Carlos Queiroz, took to Twitter to criticize former US coach and German national football player Jurgen Klinsmann for his borderline racist remarks against Iran’s national team on the BBC.
Klinsmann claimed Iran played unfairly by constantly being “in the referee’s ear” while distracting the other team, “making them lose focus,” and attributing it to “their culture.”
No matter how much I can respect what you did inside the pitch, those remarks about Iran Culture, Iran National Team and my Players are a disgrace to Football.
Nobody can hurt our integrity if it is not at our level, of course.
— Carlos Queiroz (@Carlos_Queiroz) November 26, 2022
The Qatar World Cup 2022 has been a stage for western nations in what many have described as “virtue signaling,” including Germany’s free-speech protest ahead of their opening game against Japan.
Ahead of the Germany vs Japan match, German players cover their mouths to "protest" about human rights in Qatar.
This from a country that has refused to admit committing genocide in Namibia where they killed over 80% of the Nama and Herero people. pic.twitter.com/2v54SE53Tf
— Hamza Mohamed (@Hamza_Africa) November 23, 2022
Additionally, in response to London’s transport authorities banning the Gulf State’s advertising for the World Cup due to its anti-homosexuality laws, Qatar is reportedly reviewing its investments in the city.
On Tuesday, 29 November, Iran will face off against the US in a “knockout game” for group B. A victory, or even a draw, would be enough for Iran to qualify for the next tournament round if England beats or ties with Wales in their upcoming match. Iran is currently in second place in group B, with a 2-0 late victory against Wales.