Ban on females in Iranian stadiums to be lifted soon

Infantino also held a meeting with Rouhani later on Thursday

Speaking at a joint press conference held in the Iranian capital Tehran, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said diplomatic rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran should not affect global sports adding that issued with the venues for the matches are not "unsolvable".

Seyyed Salman Samani, an Iranian interior ministry spokesman, said that these women were not arrested, but transferred to a "proper place" by police, temporarily held, and released after the match.

Infantino said that politics should never intervene in football, nor football in politics.

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

Article 4 of FIFA's statutes reads: "Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion".

He also attended a me only football match here which drew criticism from rights activists, reports the Voice of America.

Federation Internationale de Football Association said it was "very concerned" to learn about Thursday's "deeply regrettable incidents" involving the women who were detained at Azadi Stadium.

Rouhani's official website quoted him as telling Infantino that Iran "always has tried to provide more and more access to sport".




Women's rights activist Masih Alinejad on Wednesday called on women to attend Thursday's match.

Another user said it was a "basic right" for women to enter stadiums with men, and said this match was "the best chance to break the 35-year-old taboo". "Hence, my appeal to the Iranian authorities; open the nation's football stadiums to women".

"I wish women would gather outside the stadium to ask men not to enter without them".

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.

Back in September 2017, women protested outside Azadi Stadium because they were not allowed in to see Iran's World Cup qualifier against Syria, despite having pre-ordered tickets.

It follows Saudi Arabia announcing it would lift a ban on women entering three sports stadiums in the country from 2018 in October previous year.

"Isn't it interesting that half of the people in the country are not allowed to go to a venue called 'Azadi, '" she said.

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