Why a FIFA Boycott of Iran in November’s World Cup Would Work

Since International Women’s Day 2022 a growing movement of unrest about the gender apartheid instilled by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime since 1979, and the culture of fear it uses to instill these arbitrary laws, has been growing exponentially. BBC reports news of sexual misconduct by the military, while also reporting atrocities the regime commits outside of the law. The MEK (the opposition party in Iran, called Mujahiddin) report 400 confirmed deaths and 200,000 arrests, while Amnesty reports less and reports that the government is willingly spreading misinformation, a crime in itself.

Khameini and head of FIFA practically holdings hands over a FIFA totem.

#FIFAbanIRI, #FIFAbanIran and #DisqualifyIranianRegime sentiment swelled as an online petition, but now there are not one, not two not three but four petitions on alone, which we have signed (you can add your name to all and hope for the best, my god do these people not speak to each other). The recent monstrous acts of the government against the ordinary people of Iran, already exhausted by international sanctions and other national issues such as unrest (read: protest + deaths) over rigged elections and soaring oil prices, has brought the football boycott movement back to the table.

The New York Times reports on the Iranian government’s treatment of sports people who speak out, while this week the The Sun newspaper, a national paper of massive weight in the British football community, called for Iran to be banned from the World Cup. Meanwhile on the FIFA website, team Melli as it is called, is operating as normal you can read all the names of the men involved, in the government’s pride and joy, whipping up nationalism at a time when internet blackouts and propaganda alone won’t make everything magically appear as normal. On the team’s own website, the game against USA that made history is embedded on the landing page, echoing past glories with the promise of more.

Three weeks ago the brand and company FIFA publicly demanded an explanation from the IRI (Iran’s government) as to why women were excluded from public stadiums and seriously maltreated when found attempting to impersonate men in order to watch games. Why is the thrill of the game, the togetherness of the crowd, not for women? Why are women such objects of temptation that their mere presence can defile sanctioned men-only areas? The treatment of women as second class citizens is part of IRI’s governance tactic and must be stopped. But will it work? It has worked before!

During the undeniably successful South African anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s-80s, many of us remember the protests, the riots, black African deaths and imprisonments, and the monumental release after 27 years of imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and the subsequent removal of the apartheid regime in South Africa. We also remember the Nobel Peace Prize the two leaders, both Mandela and the Afrikaans president received for the joint work to reform the country. We took a tour of the most informative exhibition of the many signs, tactics and implements of those worldwide protests, now podcast and available to you to hear and learn from. Items on display were suitcases with hollow bottoms (used for smuggling cash collected by UK church congregations to bail out political prisoners of South Africa), secret phone codes and the really impactful, and successful!, posters created to pressurise an international boycott of South Africa’s pride and joy: ITS CRICKET TEAM.

We have kept one of these posters since that day:

Now see this, we made:

We call on everyone everywhere to write to The Disciplinary Committee of the international governing body of association football, who publish and declare their decisions on cases online. We ask you to use the hashtags #FIFAbanIRI #DisqualifyIranianRegime #FIFA23