FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the ban on women from entering stadiums to watch football in Iran in unacceptable.
Infantino made it known in a statement that the world soccer ruling body’s position is “clear and firm” and that women “have to be allowed” to attend football matches in the country.
The ban on women attending sports stadium was put in place in Iran in 1979 shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Infantino’s call comes shortly after the death of Sahar Khodayari, a female fan who set herself on fire after she was denied access to a soccer stadium in Tehran.
“I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation,” Infantino said in a statement.
“I contacted them several times in the recent past and so has the FIFA administration. 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.”
Dubbed the “Blue Girl” on social media, after the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal, Khodayari, was charged with “‘openly committing a sinful act by “appearing in public without a hijab” when she attempted to enter a stadium “dressed as a man” in March, according to human rights group Amnesty International.