Iran detains 35 women for going to football match

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino says Saudi Iran spat should keep out of football

FIFA boss Gianni Infantino says Saudi-Iran spat should keep out of football

Iran in the past has ignored requests by Federation Internationale de Football Association to open stadiums to women.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino received assurances from Iran that female fans will "soon" be allowed into football stadiums after they were blocked from getting into a game he attended in Tehran.

Iranian women are, however, allowed to attend female football matches.

Just like predecessor Sepp Blatter five years ago, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has returned from a trip to Tehran with a reassurance from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that women won't be shut out of stadiums for much longer.

This has forced Iranian footballers to play their home games against Saudi teams in Oman.

But no time frame was provided by Rouhani to change the law, and Infantino gave validation of the policy by attending the derby between Tehran men's teams on Thursday with only men allowed into Azadi Stadium. Article Four prohibits "discrimination of any kind against a. gender".

However, Infantino also added that he was reluctant to be heard as "criticizing anyone".

"Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018", the Saudi sports body said on Twitter.

"Iran is a safe country and is ready to host regional and worldwide sports and groups", Rouhani underlined, pointing out that regional federations should seek to bring nations closer together and increase friendships.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Iranian interior ministry spokesman Seyyed Salman Samani said the female football fans were not arrested - but transferred to a "proper place" by police.

In an interview with VOA Persian Thursday, Brussels-based Iranian activist Darya Safai said Iranian women have been trying to get into football stadiums for years, sometimes disguising themselves with facial hair to look like men.

He was not, however, referring to the admission of women but to a Saudi ban on the kingdom's teams playing in Iran, enacted in 2016 when the Gulf kingdom broke off relations with Tehran. Men and women can not take part in sports together and are not allowed to be spectators at events involving the opposite gender.

One female football fan tweeted: "They did not let us in the stadium, took pictures and videos of us and threatened to arrest us".

Syrian women were, however, provided with access to the venue to cheer for the their national team. News site IranWire quoted him last December as telling students during a lecture that the presence of women in stadiums "inevitably" leads to morally corrupt acts.

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