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Human Rights Group Calls on FIFA to Boot Iran from World Cup

  • Open Stadiums wrote an open letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, calling on him to remove Iran from November's World Cup.
  • The Iranian team has protested human rights abuses within the country.
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In a damning open letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, a human rights group is calling on Iran to be banned from the 2022 World Cup.

The World Cup kicks off on Nov. 20 in Qatar, with Iran scheduled to have its first match, against England, the following day. 

“For over four decades, Iranian women have been denied their most basic liberties. We have been banned from enjoying sports, watching games in stadiums, and cheering for our favorite football teams,” wrote Open Stadiums, a group that advocates for Iranian women’s rights.

  • “Over the past few days, we have seen sports journalists and photographers arrested and left in solitary confinement with no charges brought against them,” the group wrote.
  • They added that FIFA has been notified of the arrest of “one of nine female journalists” at the 2018 AFC Champions League final in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, which Infantino attended, per Open Stadiums.
  • The letter also discussed Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman whose death in Iranian police custody on Sept. 16 has sparked protests across the country, including by Iran’s national soccer team.

“You repeatedly made a public commitment that FIFA would solve these gross human rights violations,” wrote Open Stadiums, addressing Infantino, “but we have, sadly, come to the conclusion that these were all empty words and promises.”

Qatar Under Question

FIFA’s choice of location for the World Cup, Qatar, continues to be scrutinized. 

In addition to logistical concerns involved in bringing an estimated 1.2 million fans to a nation of around 3 million people, the country has reportedly conscripted civilians and diplomats to work security at stadiums and hotels against their will.

Denmark’s jerseys will protest Qatar’s human rights record.

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