FIFA president Infantino urges Iran to lift stadium ban on women
Women have been prohibited from attending football matches in Iran since 1979 but FIFA is attempting to have the ban lifted.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called on Iranian authorities to repeal a long-standing ban on women entering football grounds.
Iranian woman Sahar Khodayari died this month after setting herself on fire while awaiting a court case, following her March arrest for attempting to sneak in disguise into the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.
She was known as Iran's 'blue girl', reportedly because of the colours of her favourite club, Esteghlal Tehran.
Amnesty denounce Iran's "appalling contempt for women's rights"
Amnesty International official Philip Luther described the ban as showing "appalling contempt for women's rights" and encouraged world governing body FIFA to take "urgent action".
Dear @FIFAcom it's not enough to call on the Iranian authorities to ensure freedom & safety of women fighting the stadium ban. You must take urgent steps NOW to ensure that they LIFT THE BAN & stop discriminating against women who want to enjoy the beautiful game. #bluegirl https://t.co/xhTRt6XVSK— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) September 11, 2019
The ban has been in place since 1979 but was lifted for the second leg of the AFC Champions League final between Persepolis and Japanese side Kashima Antlers in November 2018.
"Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran"
Infantino said: "I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation.
"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, ranked joint 23rd in the world, host Cambodia in World Cup qualifying on October 10.
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