LONDON: A group of prominent Iranian sporting figures has urged FIFA to ban Iran from taking part in the 2022 World Cup.
The group, supported by a Spanish law firm, said that Tehran’s unofficial ban on women entering football stadiums during domestic matches violates FIFA’s equality rules, the BBC reports.
Though not denied by law, many women in Iran are turned away from stadiums by authorities.
Other countries have faced suspension in the past for human rights violations.
The group said: “The FIFA Council can and must immediately suspend Iran.
“FIFA shouldn’t allow participation by a country that is actively persecuting its women, athletes and children only for exercising their most basic human rights.”
The appeal comes amid countrywide protests in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
Open Stadiums, a human rights group, last month also called for Iran to be banned from the Qatar World Cup.
It said: “Iran’s brutality and belligerence toward its own people has reached a tipping point, demanding an unequivocal and firm disassociation from the footballing and sports world.
“Women have been consistently denied access to stadia across the country and systematically excluded from the football ecosystem in Iran, which sharply contrasts with FIFA’s values and statutes.
“If women are not allowed into stadia 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 influence.
“This is a violation of (Article 19) of FIFA’s statutes.”