FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2018 file photo, Iranian women cheer as they wave their country's flag after authorities in a rare move allowed a select group of women into Azadi stadium to watch a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, in Tehran, Iran. Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian female soccer fan died after setting herself on fire outside a court after learning she may have to serve a six-month sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium where women are banned, a semi-official news agency reported Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. The 30-year-old was known as the "Blue Girl" on social media for the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

FIFA sees no obstacles for women to attend games in Iran

September 21, 2019 - 2:03 pm

ZURICH (AP) — Soccer's governing body FIFA says an inspection visit to Iran has shown "no noteworthy operational obstacles" to lifting the country's 40-year ban and letting women attend a World Cup qualifying game next month.

After meeting government and soccer officials in Tehran this week, FIFA says it will work with Iran's soccer body to also open domestic league games to female fans.

FIFA wants Iran to end its ban on women entering stadiums which breaches international soccer statutes prohibiting discrimination.

Global attention on the ban followed the death this month of a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a soccer stadium in Tehran and faced six months in prison.

Ahead of Iran hosting Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Oct. 10, FIFA says the visit on Thursday focused on "international relations, security and ticketing matters."

Iranian officials were told of FIFA's "firm and clear position that women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely" with tickets sold to as many who wanted to attend.

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