World’s football governing body, FIFA, has reportedly received a letter calling for Iran to be axed from the 2022 World Cup which kicks off on November 21.
The call, led by a group of Iranian football and sports personalities, urged FIFA to suspend Iran due to mounting human right violation and clampdown on women football in the country.
Specifically, the group asked FIFA to suspend the Iranian Football Federation due to a lopsided approach to football administration in the country.
The group claimed outright government intervention and disruption of the game in the country, which is against FIFA guidelines and rules governing the game.
According to reports, the government have adopted measures to stop women from entering stadia in Iran.
The group accused the Iranian government of meddling in football affairs in the country and the FA as a tool to implement and chisel the game based on their standards, even against FIFA Rules.
“Neutrality from Fifa is not an option,” the group said.
Also, it has been reported that the appeal by the activists is coming at the back of strict and stifling government clampdown on anti-government protests.
There are reports that the Iranian government has gone violent and brutal in its bid to nib every form of dissent and protests in the bud.
The request is also reportedly backed up by a renowned human rights and activists group, Open Stadiums.
A statement by the group highlights the excesses of the Iranian government with emphasis on “brutality and belligerence towards it’s own people.”
The group argued that Iran should be disassociated from footballing and the sporting world due to its brutal approach to anti-government activism.
“Iran’s brutality and belligerence towards its own people has reached a tipping point, demanding an unequivocal and firm disassociation from the footballing and sports world,” the group said.
The group also stated that Iran has expressly and systematically marginalized women from football by preventing them from having access to stadia across the country in contrast to FIFA Rules.
“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”, the group insisted.
The call to also ban Iranian football association stems from the fact that the Iranian Football Association is a complicit to the vagaries and abnormalities recorded in the administration of football in Iran.
The group argues that by effecting implicit government sentiments restricting women from football in the country, the government has interfered with the football administration, using the IFA as its tool.
“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 organisation and free from any form or kind of influence. This is a violation of (Article 19) of Fifa’s statutes”, the group insisted.
According to reports, Iran does not have any statutory or legal order restricting women from accessing Iranian stadia.
However, women are frequently denied entry into the stadium, and the IFA have not done anything about it.
Reports on restrictions of women from the stadium is not strange to FIFA.
The football organizing body had reportedly wrote the Iranian government and football administrators earlier this year to allow women into football stadia.
The letter by FIFA triggered slight shifts in paradigm and some women were reportedly allowed to attend few selected matches in the Iranian League.
The group is reportedly backed by a Spanish law firm, who have cited countries that have been banned for the same violations.
“The Fifa Council can and must immediately suspend Iran,” the group added.
“Fifa shouldn’t allow participation by a country that is actively persecuting its women, athletes and children only for their exercising their most basic human rights.”
Iran qualified for the 2022 World Cup after defeating the United Arab Emirates in the field qualifiers. They will open the tournament with a game against England on November 21.
If FIFA heeds the calls to suspend the team, then UAE will fill the last spot for the continent in the tournament.