The Iranian soccer federation criticizes the “unprofessional act” when the US soccer body uses a modified flag in social media posts.
Iran’s soccer federation says it has filed a complaint with FIFA over the removal of the word “Allah” from the Islamic Republic’s flag in social media posts by its counterpart in the United States, ahead of a next World Cup match between the two countries.
“In an unprofessional act, the United States soccer federation’s Instagram page removed the symbol of Allah from the Iranian flag,” the state news agency IRNA reported on Sunday.
“The Iranian Football Federation sent an email to FIFA demanding that it issue a serious warning to the American federation,” it added.
There was no immediate public response from world soccer’s governing body to the reported complaint, which came as the United States prepares to face Iran in a World Cup decider on Tuesday, a match already fraught with decades of feud between countries.
The United States and Iran severed diplomatic relations in 1980.
Show of ‘support’ for protests in Iran
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) said in a statement Sunday morning that it had decided to relinquish the official flag on social media accounts in a show of solidarity with the “women in Iran who are fighting for the basic human rights” after death. of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in police custody.
The flag of the Islamic Republic consists of three horizontal bands in red, white, and green with the word “Allah” appearing in stylized script in the middle.
The US men’s national team’s Twitter account displayed a banner listing the squad’s group stage matches, featuring the Iranian flag in only its green, white and red colors. The same was seen in a post on his Facebook and Instagram accounts presenting the point total so far in his pool.
By Sunday afternoon, the normal flag with the emblem had been restored to the Twitter banner, and Facebook and Instagram posts with the altered flag had been removed.
“We wanted to show our support for women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours,” the federation said.
The United Nations says more than 300 people have been killed in the crackdown on protests that erupted after Amini’s death in September, and some 14,000 have been arrested, including children. Iran has accused the United States and other foreign states of fomenting the demonstrations, without providing any evidence.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency said on Twitter that the US team had “violated FIFA statutes, therefore a 10-game suspension is the appropriate sanction.”
The US team “should be thrown out” of the World Cup, he added.
By posting a distorted image of the flag of the Islamic Republic of #Iran in his official account, the #U.S football team breached @FIFAcom charter, for which a 10-game suspension is the appropriate sanction.
Equipment #USA must be expelled from #WorldCup2022 pic.twitter.com/c8I4i4z3Tv
— Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_EN) November 27, 2022
FIFA is not expected to take such a step.
Meanwhile, the prospects for the two nations on the pitch at the World Cup remain delicate.
Iran’s dramatic 2-0 win over Wales and Team USA’s tense goalless draw against England on Friday set up an enticing final round of Group B matches.
England, who sit in first place with four points, face bottom-place Wales, meaning the Iran-USA matchup will decide which team advances to the round of 16.
The highly anticipated encounter is a rematch of the 1998 World Cup group stage contest, dubbed the “mother of all games,” which Iran won 2-1. In a symbolic moment before that match at Lyon’s Stade Gerland, Iranian players presented white roses, a symbol of peace in the country, to their American opponents.