Brazilian Women’s World Cup team’s plane pays tribute to Mahsa Amini

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A view of a photograph of Iranian protester Mahsa Amini on the tail of the charter plane of the Brazilian womens football team in Brisbane, Australia.—Reuters
A view of a photograph of Iranian protester Mahsa Amini on the tail of the charter plane of the Brazilian women’s football team in Brisbane, Australia.—Reuters

The Brazilian Women’s World Cup squad arrived in Australia for the 2023 tournament aboard a plane adorned with a tribute to Iranian human rights protesters. The aircraft, upon landing in Brisbane earlier this week, displayed the faces of Amir Nasr-Azadani and Mahsa Amini, who have become symbols of anti-government protests in Iran, on its tail.

Additionally, phrases advocating for women’s rights and freedom of speech, such as “No woman should be forced to cover her head” and “No man should be hanged for saying this,” were prominently displayed on the side of the plane.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) stated that it had no involvement in the messages displayed on the plane. The CBF clarified that they had chartered the private aircraft and that the messages were the responsibility of the aircraft owner. CNN has sought comments from both the CBF and FIFA, the world governing body of football, regarding this matter. The charter plane belongs to Argentine film producer Enrique Piñeyro, as reported by Australian broadcaster SBS.

The protests in Iran were ignited by the death of Mahsa Amini in September of the previous year. Amini, a young woman, was detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. Her death sparked nationwide demonstrations, highlighting the mistreatment of women and drawing attention to long-standing economic and political grievances in Iran. The regime responded by violently suppressing the protests, which posed a significant domestic challenge to Iran’s ruling clerical regime.

Amir Nasr-Azadani, a prominent Iranian footballer, has been accused of involvement in the killing of three security officers during protests in Isfahan. He has been charged with rioting against authorities, an offence that carries the death penalty under Iran’s penal code. Nasr-Azadani has already been sentenced to 26 years in prison. The inclusion of their faces on the plane serves as a powerful symbol of solidarity with the Iranian protesters and their fight for human rights.

In the upcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup, Brazil is placed in Group F alongside France, Jamaica, and Panama. Their campaign will kick off on July 24 in Adelaide, while the tournament itself commences on July 20. Recently, FIFA announced that team captains in the Women’s World Cup would be permitted to wear armbands representing various social causes, including gender equality, inclusion, and peace. This move reflects FIFA’s commitment to promoting important social issues through the platform of women’s football.

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