FIFA chief to Iran: Open stadiums to female fans

The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter is urging Iranian authorities to end the ban on female soccer spectators in stadiums.

Thursday's remarks by Blatter came after talks with Iranian officials including Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

Iran is one of the few countries that block women from attending soccer matches, but has permitted female fans at some other sports venues in the past. Qatar, which only allowed its first female Olympic athletes last year, has promised that women fans are welcome when it hosts the 2022 World Cup.

In 2006, then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said women could attend matches in a special section, but the decision was overruled by higher authorities.

A year later, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi showed girls who dressed as men to sneak into soccer matches in Tehran.

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