FIFA To Visit Iran To ‘Assess Preparations’ For Female Fans’ Stadium Permit

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FIFA on Wednesday, said it will send officials to Iran, to assess the possibility of allowing female fans into football stadiums for next month’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers in the country.
 
The announcement comes a week after an Iranian female football fan, Sahar Khodayari, set herself on fire outside a court and died on Monday, after being told she would be jailed for six months for trying to enter a stadium in Tehran dressed as a man.

“A FIFA delegation will be on site shortly to assess the preparations to allow women at the stadium for the upcoming Wold Cup qualifier match in October,” FIFA told AFP.

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The world football governing body, however, did not reveal other details of the visit to Iran, who will host Cambodia, ranked 170th in the world, on October 10.

But Dailymail noted that a source close to FIFA revealed that it will be a three-person delegation, representing FIFA’s competition and security departments.

It also said the source disclosed that the officials will meet with the Iranian football association, but refused to confirm or deny possible talks with the country’s authorities.

Iran has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums since the Islamic revolution, with clerics arguing that women must be protected from the sight of semi-clad men.

The country’s sports ministry out of pressure from FIFA, said last month that female fans would be allowed into the stadium when Team Melli, as the national team are called, play their next home qualifier for the qualifiers.

Reports say the global football body had given Iran till August 31 to comply with allowing women into stadium, or face sanctions.

Khodayari’s death sparked outrage on social media, with many celebrities, football players and activists using the hashtag “#blue_girl” to call on FIFA to ban Iran from international competitions and fans to boycott matches.

The ban on women in stadiums is not written in any law or regulations in the country, but is “ruthlessly enforced”, said Human Rights Watch, calling it a “clear violation of the rules in FIFA”.

FIFA’s visit is said to be in continuation of the process agreed to months ago with the Iranian association.

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