A group of Iranian sports personalities and lawyers have requested world football governing body FIFA to eliminate Islamic Republic’s team from the World Cup.
Iranian activist Masih Alinejad released a document on Wednesday, showing the legal request sent to the FIFA Council to ban Iran from the upcoming World Cup slated to start in Qatar on November 20.
She said that the move aimed at suspending the Islamic Republic from attending international sport events was sponsored by a group of lawyers critical of the regime, adding that “a murderous regime and its officials should not be able to freely participate in international events.”
The Iranian national football squad, nicknamed Team Melli
“Iran's brutality and belligerence towards its own people has reached a tipping point, demanding an unequivocal and firm disassociation from the footballing and sports world. FIFA's historical abstinence from political quagmires has often only been tolerated when those situations do not metastasize into the footballing sphere," read the document. “The situation for women in Iran is deeply unpalatable in the broader political and socio-economic framework.”
The lawyers argued that if women are not allowed into stadiums across the country, and the Iranian Football Federation is simply following and enforcing governmental guidelines; they cannot be seen as an ‘independent’ organization and free from any form or kind of political influence, describing it as “a violation of (Article 19) of FIFA's statutes,” according to which the FIFA Council is statutorily empowered to take drastic immediate action and immediately suspend Iran.
“If, however, FIFA thinks that the Iranian Football Association is not under the influence of its government, and is acting solely as an independent organization, then forbidding all women from entering stadiums and participating in the World Cup violates Articles 3 and 4 of FIFA Statutes,” in which FIFA has committed itself to respect and protect human rights internationally.
“The FIFA World Cup is a celebration of international solidarity and peace. FIFA shouldn't allow participation by a country that is actively persecuting its women, athletes and children only for their exercising their most basic human rights,” the document concluded.
British member of parliament Chris Bryant, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia and former Foreign Office minister, said earlier in the week that FIFA should stop Iran from participating in the World Cup for its supply of weaponry for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Since March, many Iranians themselves have been urging FIFA to ban Team Melli from the World Cup for forcibly barring women from entering stadiums to watch matches. Under FIFA pressure, Iranian authorities started to let in a cherrypicked group for women so they would not face bans and penalties. However, since the start of the current uprising across Iran and a lackluster support from the national squad, the calls on FIFA to ban Iran have become stronger.