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Iranian authorities advise FIFA that women will be able to enter venues to watch football matches

Iranian authorities advise FIFA that women will be able to enter venues to watch football matches
September 23, 2019

World football governing body FIFA has reportedly insisted that the Government of Iran allow women to attend stadia to watch matches.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino shared that he had discussed the issue with the Iranian authorities after the death of a female fan earlier this month, advising that he had told the authorities that it is time to allow women into football stadiums and that he expected "positive developments", starting with their next home match in October.

Infantino said in a FIFA statement he was hopeful that the Iranian Football Federation and Government had been receptive to "our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation", adding “our position is clear and firm.

"Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran.

"Now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October."

Women have effectively been banned from stadiums where men are playing since just after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Earlier this month, football fan Sahar Khodayari died after being arrested for trying to go to a match disguised as a man.

Khodayari, also known as the ‘blue girl’ after the colours of her favourite team Esteqlal, feared she would be jailed. She set herself on fire as she faced Courts over following her arrest and died a week later in hospital.

Her death caused widespread grief and outrage, both within and outside Iran.

Iran, who have qualified for five World Cup finals, including the last two, host Cambodia on 10th October in their first home game of the 2022 qualifying competition.

Critics say FIFA's own statutes hold discrimination on grounds of gender punishable by suspension or expulsion.

There were signs the situation regarding female fans in Iran was changing when a group of women were permitted to attend the second leg of the Asian Champions League final in Tehran last November.

Infantino was present at the match.

However, female fans have been denied access to matches since.

At a friendly match against Syria in June, women were locked out of the Azadi Stadium and detained by security forces.

Images: Female Iranian fans at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia (top) and women fans disguise themselves as men to attend a game in Tehran (below).

Related Articles

18th September 2019 - Sporting stars urged to advocate for social equality

2nd August 2019 - FIFA Council approves expanded 32-team Women’s World Cup for 2023

18th June 2019 - Qatar World Cup 2022 shows mega-events can transform countries

4th May 2018 - Iranian women disguise themselves in fake beards to enter male-only football match

30th October 2017 - Saudi Arabia to allow women to attend stadium-based sport

20th June 2015 - Anger as Iran maintains ban on women attending sporting events

25th January 2015 - AFC official ‘happy’ to bar women spectators from stadia

5th November 2014 - British-Iranian woman jailed for a year for trying to enter a sports arena

20th September 2014 - Women’s right to attend sports events at centre of Iran’s culture wars

15th October 2014 - Women’s sporting rights put Saudi Arabia and Iran on the defensive

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