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FIFA to meet Iranian women fighting stadium ban

Last month Iran allowed 300 women to watch a match at the Azadi Stadium [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2018

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Thousands of people have signed a petition to watch the first Asian Champions League final in Iran for 11 years.
FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura will meet women campaigning to enter Iran's stadiums ahead of Saturday's Asian Champions League final.

Iran is among the remaining few countries in the region to prohibit women from attending football games by law. 

Samoura said she will meet on Thursday in Zurich with Open Stadiums activists who have a 200,000-name petition to attend the match at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

Persepolis will try to overcome a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Kashima Antlers of Japan in the first Asian Champions League final game to be played in Iran for 11 years.

Samoura, FIFA's first female secretary general, said: "This is something that is very high on the (FIFA) human rights agenda. The dialogue continues."

Since 1979's Islamic Revolution, men and women have not been allowed to take part in sports together or attend most games involving the opposite gender.

Last month Iranian authorities allowed some 300 women to watch the national team take on Bolivia at the 78,000-capacity stadium in the capital.

Despite not going as far as lifting the ban, the step was seen as a small breakthrough for women's freedoms in the Islamic republic.

The campaign to be allowed into stadiums has been hard-fought, with women dressing as men in attempts to enter the stadiums, while a famous movie has been made about the campaign - Offside - by the director Jafar Panahi.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino went to Iran in March to press President Hassan Rouhani for a change in the law.

Iran has disregarded previous pleas from FIFA to open its stadiums to women.

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