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Fifa urged to give Iran a deadline on lifting ban on women in stadiums

28 November 2018 - 10:52 By Odwa Mjo
Iranian women have not been allowed to attend sports matches in stadiums since 1981.
Iranian women have not been allowed to attend sports matches in stadiums since 1981.
Image: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

Fifa has been urged by its advisory board to put a deadline on Iran's ban on women attending fixtures in stadiums, which has been in effect for close to four decades.

Reuters reported that women and girls in Iran have not been allowed access to men's sporting events for almost 39 years and have been banned from attending major fixtures since 1981. 

According to the advisory board's report published on Monday, in March a number of women tried to enter the Azadi stadium in Tehran disguised as men. More than 30 of them were detained. 

During the 2018 World Cup, women were allowed to watch the screening of two of Iran's matches during the tournament.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino visited Iran in March and raised issues regarding the discrimination against women in his meeting with Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who promised "positive developments". 

The global football organisations' ethics code specifically prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender.

"Fifa should be explicit about the timeframe in which it expects its member association to align with Fifa's human rights expectations and the anticipated sanctions if it does not," the advisory board said.

According to the board, the sanctions would even apply to upcoming Fifa tournaments where the Iranian Football Association is bidding. 

The Fifa body is yet to set a deadline on the recommendations.

Open Stadiums, an Iranian women's movement that has been seeking to end the discrimination of women in stadiums for 13 years, welcomed the advisory board's stance.