Should the US Have Been Kicked Out of the World Cup?

Iyad Anbar, Staff Writer

Following the United States Soccer Federation changing Iran’s flag on all of its social media platforms to display support for Iranian protesters, the Iran state media has called for the United States to be removed from the 2022 World Cup. For a short time, the federation exhibited Iran’s national flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic on its official Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. A graphic of the Group B surrounds which has now been deleted exhibited the Iranian flag bearing only its green, red, and white colors. US Soccer told CNN that it wanted to change the flag for 24 hours to demonstrate “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights.” However, they always planned to go back to the original flag. US Soccer told CNN that the change “was a one-time graphic.” They also stated, “We have the main flag on our website and other places.” The emblem is black and back on the flag on all of the US Soccer’s social media accounts.

A State Department spokesperson told CNN that it did not coordinate the sporting body’s decision with US Soccer to change Iran’s flag to display support for Iranian protesters on social media platforms. The State Department said, “We look forward to a friendly and competitive match on the field. The United States continues to find ways to support the Iranian people in the face of state-sponsored violence against women and a brutal crackdown against peaceful protestors.”

Iran state media reported that the US should be kicked out of the soccer tournament and suspended for around 10 games following their postings of a “distorted image” of the nation’s flag. Iran state-aligned Tasnim news agency stated on Twitter, “By posting a distorted image of the flag of the Islamic Republic of #Iran on its official account, the #US football team breached the @FIFAcom charter, for which a 10-game suspension is an appropriate penalty. Team #USA should be kicked out of the #WorldCup2022.”

The former USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stated that he would attempt to speak with Carlos Queiroz, Iran’s manager, in order to “calm things down” following ​​Klinsmann’s thoughts about Iran’s culture being viewed as “outrageous remarks.” After Iran’s 2-0 victory over Wales, Klinsmann talked about Iran’s attitude toward soccer during a panel discussion led by Queiroz on the BBC. Klinsmann said, “That’s their culture and that’s their way of doing it and that’s why Carlos Queiroz, he fits really well in the Iranian national team. He struggled in South America. He failed with Colombia to qualify then he failed with Egypt to qualify as well and then he went back right before the World Cup now and guided Iran where he worked already for a long, long time. This is not by coincidence. This is all purposely. This is just part of their culture. That’s how they play it and they work the referee. You saw the bench always jumping off, always working the fourth, the linesmen and the fourth referee on the sideline, constantly in their ears. They’re constantly in your face on the field.”

In a statement, the Iran Football Federation demanded that Klinsmann apologize for these comments. They also stated that he must resign from his Qatar 2022 Technical Study Group position with FIFA.