TEHRAN, Iran (AA) – The death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman in police custody has drawn reactions from different segments of Iranian society. And footballers are no exception.
The death of Mahsa Amini, which is still under investigation, has sparked angry protests across Iran in the past two weeks, now extending to the football field as well.
During a friendly match between Iran and Senegal in Austria on Wednesday evening, in preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2022, Iranian players took to the field for the pre-match ceremony wearing black jackets.
It was immediately construed as a sign of support for ongoing protests in Iran against Amini’s death, with pressure mounting on the national footballers to take a stand.
However, some reports played it down, attributing it to cold and rainy weather in Modling, a town 14 km south of Vienna.
In the run-up to two pre-World Cup friendlies, there were reports about infighting within the national team over the protests, with some players more vocal than others.
It comes as former Iranian footballer Ali Karimi has emerged as the face of ongoing protests over Amini’s death. The United Arab Emirates-based legendary footballer has been regularly writing posts on his Twitter and Instagram pages, urging people to fill the streets.