FIFA President Gianni Infantino called for the ban removal.
The driving force behind the call to end the ban was a sad one. Recently, news about a woman football fan, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself afire after being caught sneaking into the stadium dressed as a man. She self-immolated upon learning that she would spend six months in prison for what she did.
This is a clear violation of FIFA’s Article 3, a discriminatory practice policy, that states:
Discrimination of any kind against any country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.
The ban started shortly after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have already called upon the attention of FIFA as the worldwide governing body of football initiate ending the ban.
However, as Infantino noted, FIFA can only hope that the Iranian government would consider allowing women to watch football on stadiums and other public places such as bars and cafes.
Infantino himself has been contacting the Iranian Federation and Iranian authorities regarding the matter. FIFA administration has also done so repeatedly in the past.
In June, FIFA also sent the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) a letter requesting a timeline to allow women to buy tickets and watch the World Cup qualifiers happening on October 10.
It is not clear whether the Federation has already responded to the letter or not.
In 2018, women were allowed to participate in a viewing event to celebrate Iran’s participation in the World Cup. The viewing event happened inside Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, and where Khodayari also tried sneaking in March this year.
While this may be seen as progressive, Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director of Amnesty International in the Middle East, asserts that this was just a publicity stunt. There’s nothing meaningful behind the event as it did not lift the ban on women altogether.
Today, Iran was the only country to implement the ban still. Saudi Arabia lifted its ban in the latter part of 2017. It came after a historic royal decree that also allowed women to drive.
It is infuriating enough knowing that the stadiums in Iran would welcome women spectators of other nationalities if the Iranian football club has a game against a Spanish or French club, for instance.
Despite this, the statistics are staggering. First, Iran has the biggest football fan base in Asia. Second, before the Revolution, Iranian women were free to watch football games on stadiums. Third, female fans were also not allowed to watch at cafes.
The second and third issues would stop if the Federation and Iranian government would follow the steps taken by the Saudi Arabian government.
While at it, it was worth noting that women in neighbouring countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, Lebanon, and Algeria allowed women to watch on stadiums. However, they also experience cultural barriers.
These women showing passion for football is seen as a sign of masculinity. Thus, female football fans chose to watch a game in secrecy – at home usually.
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How Durant trade could impact NBA landscape?
The NBA barely started free agency on June 30 when fans were rocked by the news that Kevin Durant may yet again be on the move to a fourth team in his esteemed career.
After just two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, Durant has requested to be traded in a move that can stir the balance of power in the NBA.
Let’s explore the possibilities of which teams have a logical shot of winning the Durant sweepstakes and how the 6-foot-10 superstar can boost a franchise from an average contender to a possible championship-winning squad.
IRVING DECISION NOT ENOUGH TO SWAY KD?
Talks of Durant requesting a trade were not surprising to fans and sports circles. But that was when questions lingered early on whether Kyrie Irving would explore his options to move elsewhere.
But after Irving decided to opt in on his $37 million player option and fulfill his four-year deal with the Nets, Brooklyn fans felt that the All-Star guard and Durant would stay and try to lead the franchise on another deep playoff run.
The shocking announcement of Durant’s manager Rick Kleiman in his statement to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski regarding his client’s major decision puts the Nets’ management in disarray.
DURANT NO STRANGER TO SWITCHING TEAMS
This scenario is not new for Durant, who was drafted as the No.2 overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics in the 2007 NBA Draft before the franchise changed its name to the Oklahoma City Thunder the following season.
After spending nine years with the Thunder and leading the team to an NBA Finals appearance in 2012, Durant went to the Golden State Warriors for the 2016-17 season where he led the Dubs to back-to-back championships and won consecutive Finals MVPs as well.
Durant failed to steer the Warriors to a third title in an injury-riddled year in the 2018-19 season that led to a transfer to the Brooklyn Nets the following season. But he only got to play for Brooklyn in the 2020-21 season after spending a year recovering from an injury.
MAD CHASE FOR DURANT BEGINS
It’s a no-brainer that any team with cap space or trade assets in their roster would line up to check their chances of landing Durant, a two-time NBA champion who also made it among the NBA 75th Anniversary team.
Multiple reports said Durant prefers the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, or the Philadelphia 76ers as possible landing spots for his fourth team in his 14-year career.
With four years and nearly $200 million left on his current deal with the Nets, it would need a lot of expiring contracts, future draft picks, and cash for any other team to snatch the 33-year-old future Hall of Famer away from Brooklyn.
WILL KD STAY EAST OR MAKE WEST RETURN?
Fans are also intrigued as to which conference will be more crowded in the chase to the title depending on Durant’s latest move.
A bid to stay in the Eastern Conference means Durant could provide more firepower to already established teams like the Heat and the 76ers or be the alpha on the Knicks squad but with a bigger market.
But a return to the Western Conference after his earlier stints with the Thunder and the Warriors could mean Durant joining forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Lakers, or making the Suns, Mavericks, and Clippers elite contenders capable of dethroning the Dubs next season.
How De Jong can boost Man Utd’s midfield line?
The only way for Manchester United to remain among the elite teams in the English Premier League (EPL) is to constantly look for players who will be a good fit to their roster amid a cloud of strong opposition from the rest of the field.
The announcement of the Red Devils to agree with Barcelona to pay an initial €65 million upfront to pay Frenkie De Jong is a timely move given the La Liga squad’s eagerness to move the Dutch star midfielder, multiple reports have quoted sources as saying.
While no final deal has been officially announced, what can this move mean to Man Utd? Let’s explore the possibilities on how the 5-foot-11 Gorinchem native can make an immediate impact for manager Erik Ten Hag’s squad.
DE JONG TO COVER MULTIPLE DEPARTURES
The looming arrival of De Jong at Old Trafford comes with an immediate sense of urgency for the Red Devils, who are preparing to boost their midfield line following the departures of Paul Pogba and Nemanha Matic at the end of the season.
The decision of Matic to join Roma on a free transfer and Pogba to play for juventus created a big hole to fill for Ten Hagg, who has been longing to acquire De Jong to his team.
The familiarity dynamic is also in play here, as Ten Hag is no stranger to De Jong due to their previous partnership at Ajax.
The affable manager’s chemistry with De Jong means that it’s only a matter of time to integrate the Dutch footballer to Man Utd’s scheme of things as they brace for their return to the field in August.
FINAL DETAILS STILL BEING WORKED OUT
While the decision of Man Utd and Barcelona to agree on a deal for De Jong, there are still several details to be ironed out before making it official.
The total package for De Jong is unlikely to reach €100 million but both Man Utd and Barca are committed to work on the final figures of the agreement in terms of fixed fee and add-ons that will benefit De Jong.
Barca, which signed De Jong to €75 million after his stint from Ajax in 2019 along with €11 million in potential add-ons, will rely on the sale of 10% of their La Liga television rights to avoid gaining losses before the end of the year amid De Jong’s looming exit.
RED DEVILS NOT DONE AFTER DE JONG’S ARRIVAL
Make no mistake that Man Utd will settle for De Jong to boost their midfield line, as the club is looking for a couple more key pieces to add to their roster.
Aside from De Jong, the Red Devils are looking at Brazilian winger Antony as a versatile forward who can play multiple positions. But the decision of Ajax to put up an €80-million valuation might stall Man Utd’s plans.
Another player Man Utd is checking out is midfielder Christian Eriksen, who has a pending offer from Brentford after playing with the squad during the second half of last season, sources told ESPN.
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