The state used Iran’s matches to brand protesters at home and in Qatar as enemies of the Iranian people. Those in Qatar and Iran who support the protests were divided over whether to support the team, as some felt it had aligned itself with the government.
- The quality of Iranian football and sport more broadly will be weakened by its politicisation.
- Opposition campaigns calling for boycotts and exclusion will spread to other sports.
- Prospects for unity among protest supporters will be undermined by sports boycott campaigns.
- Polarisation in Iranian society will intensify further.