Iran World Cup star Sadar Azmoun could be banned from the tournament by Iran’s FA after expressing support for ongoing protests over the death of Mahsa Animi, who died in police custody
- Iran striker Sadar Azmoun could be banned from the tournament in Qatar
- Bayer Leverkusen star spoke out in support of protests that have swept Iran
- Azmoun took to his Instagram account to say: ‘Shame on you for killing so easily’
Iran’s attacker Sardar Azmoun, who was expected to pose a significant threat to England in their first World Cup match, has been threatened with expulsion from the squad after speaking out in support of the protests that have ravaged the country.
Azmoun, 27, a Bayern Leverkusen player and the team’s goalkeeper, ignored instructions from the Iranian FA and banned players from speaking out about the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody.
Protests are likely to be part of Iran’s World Cup. After ejecting two men holding up a small image of Amini during the recent friendly against Uruguay in Austria, protesters outside the stadium used a megaphone to announce their presence during a closed-door match against Senegal on Tuesday.
Sardar Azmoun has shown support for Iran protests but could be banned from finals
Iran’s ongoing protests over the death of Mahsa Animi who died while in custody
One arrest was made when a protester hit a car leaving the stadium in St. Polten, near Vienna, though injuring himself in the process. The match, which was watched by Gareth Southgate, ended in a 1-1 draw.
Azmoun said on his Instagram account: ‘Worst case scenario, I’ll be fired from the national team. No problem. I would sacrifice that for one hair on the head of Iranian women. This story will not be deleted. They can do whatever they want. Shame on you for killing so easily; long live Iranian women.’
Symbolic messages from Alireza Jahanbakhsh, national team captain Carlos Queiroz, and teammate Ehsan Hajsafi were previously removed.
The players’ refusal to silence creates a huge problem for the Iranian state, which wants a competitive team in Qatar to avoid the shame of defeat for the US and England – both considered enemies of the state.
Iranian players purposely covered up the Iran badge to show their support for protests in their own country