Iran state media is calling for the United States Men's National Team to be kicked out of the ongoing 2022 World Cup due to the United States Soccer Federation sharing a changed version of Iran's flag in order to show support for protesters.
The federation briefly displayed Iran's national flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic on its verified Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts in a now-deleted graphic of the Group B standings initially posted on Saturday (November 26).
U.S. Soccer said it wanted to display the green, white and red flag in an effort to "support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights,” but planned to change the flag for 24 hours and had always intended to go back to the original Iranian flag.
“We have the main flag on our website and other places," U.S. Soccer told CNN, referring to the change as part of "a one-time graphic" and acknowledging that the original flag was back on all of its verified social media accounts.
Iran state media called for the U.S. to immediately kicked out of the tournament and suspended for 10 games after posting what it referred to as a "distorted image."
“By posting a distorted image of the flag of the Islamic Republic of #Iran on its official account, the #US football team breached the @FIFAcom charter, for which a 10-game suspension is the appropriate penalty,” Iran state-aligned Tasnim news agency wrote on Twitter on Sunday (November 27) via CNN. “Team #USA should be kicked out of the #WorldCup2022.”
FIFA didn't immediately respond when CNN reached out for comment on Monday (November 28).
The issue comes days before Iran and the U.S. will face each other in the final match of Group B play, with the Americans facing a must-win, trailing Iran by one point for the second advancing seed.
The USMNT tied England, 0-0, last Friday (November 25) and Wales, 1-1, last Monday (November 21) to earn two points.
Iran earned three points after its 2-0 win against Wales last Friday, following a 6-2 loss to England last Monday.