Thursday, 18 July, 2019

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

Iran's Minister of Sport and Youth Masoud Soltanifar poses for Iran's Minister of Sport and Youth Masoud Soltanifar poses for
Patty Aguilar | 02 March, 2018, 20:02

Iranian authorities detained 35 women for attempting to attend a soccer match on Thursday, according to various Iranian reports.

Iran President Hassan Rouhani has been invited to attend the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup by FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Iraqi officials had invited Infantino in the hope of convincing world football's governing body that the country, battered by years of violence and conflict, is fit to host worldwide fixtures.

The head of FIFA pledged to do his best to help resolve a dispute between Iran and Asian football's governing body the AFC concerning the latter's decisions in selecting the venue for Asian Champions League matches between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Stressing that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has always tried to provide more and more access to sport, he said, "Public and professional sport activities are increasing in our country today, and national teams of Iran take part in various fields of sport at global levels, including the presence of Iranian national football teams at all levels in regional and global competitions". "The solution is always just to play home and away like in every competition in every country", he said.

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino says Iran has assured him female fans will "soon" be allowed into stadiums after they were blocked from getting into a game he attended in Tehran.

"In a great country such as Iran, more can certainly be done", he said".

Infantino opened a Federation Internationale de Football Association equality conference on Friday by claiming the trip could help "many women around the world".

Women in Iran have been banned from attending men's football matches since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which replaced the country's monarchy with an Islamic theocracy, making society conform with Islamic ideals.

"We will focus our efforts on entertaining the football masses, whether they were in Iran, Saudi Arabia or wherever in the world", he added.

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