Members of the Iranian football team who stood silent during the playing of their country’s national anthem prior to their FIFA World Cup match against England could face consequences back home, a report said.

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The Iranian team chose not to sing their own national anthem as fans from the country also supported their stand with signs inside the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha in Qatar that read “Freedom for Iran” and “Woman, Life, Freedom” in support of the massive protests that have rocked the country. Demonstrations sparked in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Mahsa Amini while in police custody for not wearing hijab properly.

David E. Guinn, a University of Albany research professor of international law and human rights, told Newsweek that not only the Iranian players but their families “could face significant consequences including detention and/or arrest” because of their stand in the match.

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“The Iranian regime has clearly demonstrated its determination and ruthlessness in seeking to quell that unrest, particularly in public settings,” David E. Guinn said.

“While the public standing of the players might shield them for a time, particularly while they are competing in the World Cup, that standing will also make them of greater concern to the regime. They don’t want prominent individuals stepping forward to feed the flames,” David E. Guinn added.

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