Iran’s minister of sports says that the FIFA President Gianni Infantino's visit to Tehran is not about the ban on women entering stadiums to watch matches.
Earlier, the president of Iran’s Football Federation Mehdi Taj announced that Infantino will visit Iran soon. However, some speculated that his trip is to follow up on the issue of the ban.
Sports minister Hamid Sajjadi claimed on Tuesday that “the issue of women's presence in stadiums has been resolved and women will “proudly” enter the sports complexes to watch games in the future.
His claim comes as recently police used violence to bar a group of female fans of Esteghlal and Persepolis soccer clubs to prevent them from entering the Azadi stadium in Tehran .
The international governing body of the football association (FIFA) has tried to convince Iran’s government to lift the unwritten four-decade-old ban on women attending stadiums to watch male players.
However, the Iranian federation as well as security and law enforcement agencies are not following FIFA's directive under the pretext of lack of infrastructure to keep women in separate sections, apart from male spectators.
On some occasions when a limited number of women have been allowed in stadiums, they were placed in separate sections, not mixing with men but the ban has subsequently led to many arrests, beatings, detentions, and assaults against women.
This restriction is based on the country’s strict Islamic laws. Iranian officials have always argued that male football fans swear profanities, so the atmosphere of stadiums is not suitable for women even if they are seated in a separate sections.