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Watch: FIFA tells Iran women must be allowed into stadiums

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Iranian women have been banned from stadiums since 1979
Iranian women have been banned from stadiums since 1979 -
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Reuters
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International football governing body FIFA has told Iran it should allow women into football stadiums.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he expects to see "positive developments" on the issue, starting with Iran's next home game in October.

While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men's teams have been playing since just after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Infantino said in a FIFA statement he was hopeful that the Iranian football federation and government authorities had been receptive to "our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation".

He added: "Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. Now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October."

Iran, who have qualified for five World Cup finals, including each of the last two, will play host tp Cambodia on 10 October in their first home game of the 2022 qualifying competition.

Earlier this month, a female fan died in Iran after setting herself on fire to protest against her arrest for attending a match.

Sahar Khodayari, dubbed "Blue Girl" for the colours of her favourite team Esteghlal, died in hospital after her self-immolation outside a court, where she feared being jailed for six months, having attended the match in disguise as a man.

Read more: Woman dies after setting herself ablaze over Iran stadium jail fears

Khodayari's death caused widespread outrage in Iran and internationally, prompting calls on social media for Iran's football federation to be suspended or banned by FIFA.

There were signs the situation regarding female fans in Iran was changing when a group of women was permitted to attend the second leg of the Asian Champions League final in Tehran last November, a match at which Infantino was present.

However, female fans have been denied access to matches since then. At Iran's friendly against Syria in June, women were locked out of the Azadi Stadium and detained by security forces.

Infantino said a FIFA delegation was now in Iran. "I am looking forward to hearing good news from them," he added.

A spokesman for the Iranian government, Ali Rabiei, said: "We believe that women can enter stadiums, but I am sure you agree that a portion of society are worried about their presence. Our upcoming game is with Cambodia, and women will be present. Their presence will increase step by step."