Iran protests: Calls for Wales' 2022 World Cup group rivals to be banned from tournament

A formal request has sent to Fifa asking for them to immediately suspend the country. Credit: PA

There are calls for Wales' group rivals Iran to be banned from the World Cup.

A petition calling for the country, who are in the same group as Cymru, to be banned from the tournament has ammassed more than 22,000 signatures.

A formal request has now been sent to Fifa asking for them to immediately suspend the country.

The calls come following a violent crackdown by the Iranian regime in response to widespread protests which have swept across the country. So far, more than 200 people have died.

Protestors took to the streets following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, in police custody, having been arrested by the country's morality police for not wearing a hijab. Iran has strict laws on women covering their hair.

The petition calling on Fifa to take action has been started by protestors from Iran, who say the team should be removed from the tournament "in light of the aggression of the Islamic Republic of Iran against its own people".

They say the actions of the Iranian regime, headed by the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, constitute "a clear violation of fundamental human rights".

The petition also says individual footballers in Iran, such as former Bayern Munich player Ali Karimi, are being "suppressed".

Iran is also facing international condemnation for supplying Russia with weaponised drones used in their war with Ukraine.

  • What does this mean for Wales?

Iran have been drawn in Group B along with Wales, England and the USA

Wales are in the same group as Iran, alongside England and the USA and are due to face the side on 25 November.

With exactly a month to go until Iran are due to play their first match in Qatar, their possible expulsion could have significant implications for Wales' chances of progressing out of the group stages.

Under FIFA rules, a nation's football authorities cannot be run by a government and group of people should not be excluded from attending matches. Women were allowed to attend a football match in Tehran a few months ago for the first time in more than forty years.

Fifa will now need to decide whether to remove Iran from the tournament or not.