Members of England’s men’s soccer team took a knee in protest prior to the start of its World Cup match against the United States.
England’s players also took a knee for several seconds prior to its match against Iran on Nov. 21.
According to the AS sports news website, at least three members of the team were demonstrating against discrimination and racism. The players were also believed to be making a statement about “inclusivity.”
England coach Gareth Southgate previously mentioned that his players would be taking a stance in Qatar.
“We feel we should,” Southgate said following the Iran match. “We think it’s a strong statement that will go around the world, especially for young people, that is important.”
Meanwhile, as Iran’s players took the field for their match against England, players remained silent as the country’s anthem was played in an apparent show of support for protesters in their home country.
Some players were seen making thumbs-down gestures as well, according to Reuters.
A former member of Iran’s national soccer team was arrested earlier this week for criticizing the Iranian government.
Voria Ghafouri was arrested Thursday for “insulting the national soccer team and propagandizing against the government,” according to the Associated Press. Ghafouri had not been selected as a member of Iran’s 2022 World Cup team.
The referees at the USA-England game did not seem to acknowledge the demonstration, and the game kicked off at its scheduled time.
Some fans took to social media to express their feelings on the matter.
FIFA has prohibited teams from wearing armbands that promote human rights or protest Qatar’s position on human rights.