FIFA gets formal request to boot Iran out of 2022 Qatar World Cup after women's match ban

FIFA gets formal request to boot Iran out of 2022 Qatar World Cup after women's match ban
Iranian sports personalities backed by a Spanish law firm say Tehran's football federation should be suspended because it has barred women from attending matches in Iran
2 min read
21 October, 2022
Women were allowed to attend select matches at Iranian stadiums last year [Hossein Zohrevand/Tasnim News/AFP via Getty]

A group of Iranian sports personalities have sent a formal request to FIFA, asking them to ban the Iranian Football Federation - a move that would see the Iran national team kicked out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Backed by Spanish law firm Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo, the sports stars say the Iranian federation should be suspended because of its discrimination towards women trying to attend matches in Iran.

"Women have been consistently denied access to stadia across the country and systematically excluded from the football ecosystem in Iran, which sharply contrasts with FIFA's values and statutes," the letter reads.

"If women are not allowed into stadia across the country, and the Iranian Football Federation is simply following and enforcing governmental guidelines, they cannot be seen as an independent organisation and free from any form or kind of influence. This is a violation of Fifa's statutes."

Though there is no formal ban on women attending football games in Iran, they are frequently denied entry.

The Iranian Football Federation allowed women to attend selected games earlier this year, after pressure from FIFA to do so.

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The call to suspend the federation comes as Iranian sports stars have used their platforms to stand with the ongoing wave of protests in Iran.

The protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, also known as Jina Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman fatally beaten in the custody of morality police.

She had been arrested on 13 September for wearing her headscarf 'improperly'.

According to human rights groups, more than 200 people have been killed as security forces crack down on the protests.

Last month, rights group Open Stadiums called on FIFA to expel Iran from the World Cup, which starts in November.

Iran is scheduled to play their first match of the tournament on 21 November, when they face Group B favourites England.