It’s a shame that it basically took a suicide for FIFA to publicly turn its attentions to Iran for banning women at soccer stadiums in the country.
A little over a week ago, Sahar Khodayari, known as the blue girl, set herself on fire after being arrested for trying to enter a soccer stadium in Iran, a country which has adopted a policy of banning women from entering soccer stadiums.
Now FIFA has come out and demanded that Iran end this practice.
“Our position is clear and firm.” wrote FIFA president Gianni Infantino in a statement. “Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran.”
This ban was put into place after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and while the constitution does not explicitly ban women from soccer stadium’s, the practice was adopted after the revolution. It’s a practice that many, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, have appealed to FIFA to help end.
“I contacted them several times in the recent past and so has the FIFA administration.” said Infantino. “We have a delegation of FIFA members in Iran at the moment and I am looking forward to hearing good news from them.
“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 has a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia on October 10, and FIFA is hoping that Iran will change their policy to allow women to buy tickets to these games. This past June, they sent the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) a letter requesting a timeline for allowing women to do just that in order to support their country’s team.
Hopefully this policy will be lifted so that all Iranians can equally enjoy, and watch, their countrymen play soccer.