Iran must allow women into stadiums - FIFA pres

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has described Iran's stadium ban for women as "unacceptable," calling on the country to lift restrictions ahead of their next home game.

Attention on the ban intensified when a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, died this month after setting herself on fire. She had been detained for dressing as a man to enter a football stadium.

Infantino said in a statement: "Now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match."

Iran, the top-ranked team in Asia, hosts Cambodia at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Oct. 10.

Infantino has been urging Iran's government to lift the 40-year ban imposed after the Islamic Revolution.

He added: "Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran."

FIFA has officials in Iran monitoring preparations at the stadium should the ban be lifted.

Women were permitted to enter a stadium for the first time since 1979 last June to watch a broadcast of the national team playing in the World Cup in Russia.

However, local matches have continued the restriction. Volleyball, another popular sport, similarly sees officials bar women from attending men's games in Tehran, although women were allowed in some matches in other Iranian cities.