Fight at home instead of World Cup
Iranian legend Ali Daei refuses FIFA invitation
11/14/2022, 11:45 PM
The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday. Iran is also among the 32 participating countries. FIFA has invited football legend Ali Daei, but the 53-year-old refuses. He prefers to stay with his compatriots who are protesting against his own regime.
Iranian ex-Bundesliga professional Ali Daei says he turned down a FIFA invitation to the World Cup in Qatar. “In these days when most of us are not well, I have declined the official invitation from FIFA and the Qatar Football Association to take my wife and daughters to the World Cup,” the 53-year-old wrote on Instagram on Monday. . “I want to be with you in my country and offer my condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones these days,” Daei said. “Hope for good times for Iran and Iranians.”
Tehran-born journalist Golineh Atai tweeted a photo of Daei at night in front of a hospital on Monday afternoon. She wrote: “As if to say: I am here. My eyes do not miss any injustice.” Atai wrote that political prisoner Hossein Ronaghi was taken to hospital. “Protesters who gathered there were shot at,” she said in her tweet.
Daei is a folk football hero in Iran. From 1999 to 2002 he played for Hertha BSC, before that he was also active in Germany with Arminia Bielefeld and FC Bayern Munich. After nationwide protests broke out in Iran in mid-September, Daei, along with other former football professionals such as Ali Karimi and Mehdi Mahdavikia, showed solidarity with the protesters. It was initially unclear whether Daei had been allowed to leave the country at all because of his solidarity statements, it was recently reported. Iran will play its first Group B World Cup match against England next Monday.
The violent crackdown by Iran’s security forces against the systemic protests had recently sparked discussions about excluding Iran’s national team from the World Cup. However, many Iranians hope that the football professionals will use the World Cup in the Gulf Emirate of Qatar for solidarity actions. The protests were sparked by the death of young Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini in police custody on September 16. The vice squad had arrested her for violating the Islamic dress code.