Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Women 'will eventually' be allowed at games, Iran tells FIFA

Infantino also held a meeting with Rouhani later on Thursday Infantino also held a meeting with Rouhani later on Thursday
| 04 March, 2018, 05:09

With FIFA president Gianni Infantino in the stands, the women tried to gain entry to the encounter between Tehran clubs Esteqlal and Persepolis.

The president also referred to the passionate presence of women in various fields of sport, especially football, and said: "Today, Iranian women are present livelier in sport fields, including 23,000 women athletes in football".

"I heard there were some incidents where some women were detained because they wanted to attend a football match and there was some criticism, obviously and rightly", he said.

But no time frame was provided by Rouhani to change the law, and Infantino gave validation of the policy by attending the derby between Tehran men's teams on Thursday with only men allowed into Azadi Stadium.

The women caught sneaking into the stadium were trying to attend a particularly significant game, one being watched by the most powerful man in world football, Fifa's boss.

"I asked (Rouhani), please to consider giving access to women in the stadiums", Infantino said.

Infantino's presence at Azadi Stadium drew sharp criticism from human rights activists who accuse Iran of violating Federation Internationale de Football Association rules by banning women from men's matches.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino talks to the media after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, Feb. 21, 2018.


Mr Infantino was speaking about a two-year dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran, according to the BBC. Women were among the fans who watched the Iranian men's national basketball team face Iraq on Sunday in a FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifier at the Azadi Indoor Stadium, adjacent to the outdoor football arena.

However, earlier reports said that two women were held.

"There are of course political issues between countries all over the world but this should not have an impact", he said.

"It's very clear that politics should stay out of football and football should stay out of politics", he said.

The FIFA chief acknowledged that Saudi Arabia had voiced security concerns after protesters angry at its execution of a top Shiite cleric attacked its embassy and a consulate in Iran, prompting it to cut ties.

Federation Internationale de Football Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VOA's Persian Service. Safai is the founder of "Let Iranian women enter their stadiums", a campaign to end gender discrimination at Iranian sporting venues. They were seated in a separate section from the male fans.

The group was spotted even though some of them were dressed as men.

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