FIFA president tells Iran to let women watch World Cup qualifiers
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FIFA president tells Iran to let women watch World Cup qualifiers

Gianni Infantino says Tehran has reneged on previous commitments to allow females into games, demands steps to ensure they are able to attend matches

FIFA President Gianni Infantino after the final match between Ukraine and South Korea at the U20 soccer World Cup in Lodz, Poland, June 15, 2019. (AP/Darko Vojinovic)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino after the final match between Ukraine and South Korea at the U20 soccer World Cup in Lodz, Poland, June 15, 2019. (AP/Darko Vojinovic)

FIFA President Gianni Infantino asked Iran to ensure women were allowed to attend the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Now he’s expressing disappointment the country has reneged on its commitments.

In November of last year, Infantino was in Teheran for the Asian Champions League final when Iranian women were allowed to watch Persepolis play Kashima Antlers of Japan. But things have changed since then.

Infantino wrote this week to Iranian soccer federation president Mehdi Taj to say it’s “all the more disappointing that it was not possible to keep up the positive momentum and to continue with similar progress.”

In a letter seen by The Associated Press, Infantino highlights a June 6 game between Iran and Syria when “the gates were closed to female spectators and when, it would appear, a number of women seeking to attend the match were detained by security forces for a number of hours.”

Infantino said he wants “concrete steps” from the federation by July 15 “to ensure that all Iranian and foreign women who wish to do so will be allowed to buy tickets and to attend the matches” for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which begin in September.

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