Iran soccer vs. Qatar DOHA, QATAR – MARCH 23: Ehsan Hajsafi of Iran (L) and Luiz Junior of Qatar in action during Qatar against Iran – FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier on March 23, 2017 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images)

Iran is weathering political protests unseen in its streets in a generation. The protests will spill over to the country’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Fans of the Iran men’s soccer team announced Friday they will boycott their team’s performance in the World Cup, including games against England and the United States.

“A lot of Iranians love football,” a spokesperson for the UK’s Iranian Community Network (ICN) told The Athletic. “They always want to watch the game.

“Some within our discussion were defending it (the World Cup), saying that football is separate from politics. But they (players) cannot turn their back when something like this is happening.

“Football goes on its way, saying everything is hunky-dory. They say ‘Football is separate.’ No, it is not separate from the lives of people.

“I could see people were getting excited about the World Cup. But Iranians here and elsewhere also see this as the last straw. They want to take a stand.”

Iran is in World Cup Group B with America, England and Wales.

The World Cup begins Sunday, Nov. 20th, with a match between Qatar and Ecuador.

Iran begins their World Cup campaign on Monday, Nov. 21st, when it faces England.

[The Athletic]