Women held in Iran during Federation Internationale de Football Association visit

They believed that this protest against the sexist ban on women attending men's football games, which has been in place since the mullahs took power in 1979, would have extra prominence with Infantino there and attract the FIFA chief's attention to the issue.

Iranian state media said police detained 35 women as they tried to enter Tehran's Azadi Stadium for Thursday's match between rival local men's clubs Esteghlal and Persepolis.

But women have been banned from watching football in Iran since 1979, and as a outcome, they were temporarily held by police before being released after the match.

Infantino said he met Rouhani during a visit to Tehran on Thursday where he also attended a derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis, one of the top fixtures in the Iranian season.

There was no official Iranian comment on the remarks from Federation Internationale de Football Association on Friday.

The FIFA president, without naming any dignitary, said he was "promised" that Iranian women will soon have access to football stadiums.


"The people of Iran, like any other nation, have the right to cheer their teams at their stadiums, and we, as the worldwide federation of football, will try to defend this right", Infantino added.

"Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018", the Saudi sports body said on Twitter.

"In a great country such as Iran, more can certainly be done", he said".

Iran's influential clergy believes women have no place in football stadiums when men are over-excited and vulgar slogans are shouted. "The solution is always just to play home and away like in every competition in every country", he said.

In an interview with VOA Persian Thursday, Brussels-based Iranian activist Darya Safai said Iranian women have been trying to get into football stadiums for years, sometimes disguising themselves with facial hair to look like men. Safai is the founder of "Let Iranian women enter their stadiums", a campaign to end gender discrimination at Iranian sporting venues. Or we go there and have a discussion and try to convince the leaders of the country that they should give (women) access to stadiums.

Neighbor Saudi Arabia allowed women into a sports stadium for the first time in January to watch soccer, although they were segregated in the stands from the male-only crowd with designated seating. News site IranWire quoted him last December as telling students during a lecture that the presence of women in stadiums "inevitably" leads to morally corrupt acts.


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