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Iran Prosecutor Defies FIFA On Stadium Entrance Ban For Women

Women soccer fans attend a match in Tehran on November 10, 2018.

Iran’s ban on women entering stadiums is not the business of world soccer governing body FIFA, the country’s prosecutor-general said on August 7.

"That is certainly not the concern of FIFA -- whether women are among the football fans in the stadiums or not," Mohammad Montazeri said, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency.

He asked since when does FIFA care about women in Iran who "will be robbed of the blessing of a football match?"

Iran is in danger of being barred from the World Cup qualifiers if it doesn’t lift the nearly 40-year ban on women from sports stadiums.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gave Iran's soccer federation FFIRI a July 15 deadline to allow women to attend the nation’s qualifiers for the next World Cup taking place in 2022.

Qatar will host the quadrennial soccer tournament in September 2022.

Women deserve to attend the games, Infantino said, because "we owe it to women all over the world, but also because we have a responsibility to do so, under the most basic principles set out in the FIFA statutes."

Based on FIFA’s statutes, Iran’s soccer governing body could be suspended if it fails to lift the stadium ban, thus keeping Iran out of the competition’s qualifiers.

Two years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, women started to be largely banned from entering stadiums to prevent exposure to male fans, according to ultraconservative clerics.

Based on reporting by dpa