FIFA president Gianni Infantino has warned Iran it must lift its “unacceptable” ban on women attending football matches across the country.
In a statement published on its website, which has been attributed to Infantino, football’s world governing body says the ongoing ban on women in football stadiums cannot go on.
Iran’s ban on women attending sports stadiums was put in place shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Amnesty and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have both called on football’s world governing body FIFA to end the ban.
Infantino’s call comes shortly after the death of Sahar Khodayari, a female fan who set herself on fire after she was denied access to a soccer stadium in Tehran.
“I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation,” Infantino said in a statement.
“I contacted them several times in the recent past and so has the FIFA administration. We have a delegation of FIFA members in Iran at the moment and I am looking forward to hearing good news from them.
“Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran.
“We understand there are steps and processes that need to be taken before this is done in a proper and safe way but now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October.”
Iran’s men’s national team takes on Cambodia in a World Cup qualifying game on October 10.
Dubbed the “Blue Girl” on social media, after the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal, Khodayari, was charged with “‘openly committing a sinful act by “appearing in public without a hijab” when she attempted to enter a stadium “dressed as a man” in March, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
Khodayari appeared in a Tehran court earlier this month. When the case was adjourned, she poured gasoline over herself and set herself on fire. She died on Monday, September 9.
More to follow…