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FIFA Wants Iran to End Ban on Women Entering Stadiums

An Iranian woman watches the World Cup soccer match between Portugal and Iran at Azadi stadium in Tehran on June 25, 2018.(Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

An Iranian woman watches the World Cup soccer match between Portugal and Iran at Azadi stadium in Tehran on June 25, 2018.(Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Soccer’s governing body FIFA says an inspection visit to Iran has shown “no noteworthy operational obstacles” to lifting the country’s 40-year ban and letting women attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.

After meeting government and soccer officials in Tehran this week, FIFA says it will work with Iran’s soccer body to also open domestic league games to female fans.

FIFA wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums which breaches international soccer statutes prohibiting discrimination.

Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a soccer stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.

Ahead of Iran hosting Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10, FIFA says the visit on Thursday focused on “international relations, security and ticketing matters.”

Iranian officials were told of FIFA’s “firm and clear position that women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely” with tickets sold to as many who wanted to attend.

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