The Football Federation of Iran (FFI) has filed an official complaint against the US Football Federation, which removed the word Allah (the Arabic word for God) from the Iranian flag on social media. This edited graphic appeared on US Soccer profiles ahead of Tuesday’s duel between the two countries at the World Cup in Qatar.
Iran will play their last match in Group B against the US national team and, if they win, they will advance to the round of 16. “The US soccer federation’s Instagram page has unprofessionally removed the Allah symbol from the Iranian flag. The Iranian soccer federation has sent an email to the international soccer federation (FIFA) requesting that the US federation receive a serious warning.” . This was reported by the Iranian state news agency Irna.
The flag of Iran consists of three horizontal bands of green, white and red with the word Allah in Arabic characters in the centre. US Soccer removed the word and posted the modified flag for 24 hours on its official Instagram and Twitter accounts.
“It was a unique graphic as an expression of solidarity with women in Iran”, the US soccer body’s communications official said, adding that the flag remained unchanged on the US Soccer website. A US Soccer spokesman later told reporters that the pole had been removed and replaced with the original flag. “However, we still support Iranian women,” he added according to AFP.
Iran’s Tasnim News Agency said on Twitter that the US team violated FIFA statutes, for which it said a 10-match ban was an appropriate punishment. “The US team should be kicked out of the World Cup”, she wrote.
Anti-government demonstrations have been ongoing in Iran for more than two months, sparked by the death of a young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by Tehran’s morality police for allegedly violating the dress code for women.