FIFA facing calls to EXPEL England and Wales' World Cup opponents Iran from the tournament in Qatar
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Rights group Open Stadiums has called on FIFA president Gianni Infantino to expel Iran from the upcoming World Cup in Qatar because of the country's treatment of women.
In an open letter sent to Infantino on Friday, Open Stadiums claimed Iran has continued to prevent women from attending football matches in the country despite pressure from FIFA.
The organisation also highlighted several incidents in which Iranian authorities had used violence against women, while also claiming that a number of female journalists and photographers had been arrested and were being detained for attempting to report on sport in the country.
"That is why, as Iranian football fans, it is with an extremely heavy heart that we have to raise our deepest concern about Iran's participation in the upcoming FIFA World Cup," read a statement posted on Twitter.
"Why would FIFA give the Iranian state and its representatives a global stage, while it not only refuses to respect basic human rights and dignities but is currently torturing and killing its own people?
"Where are the principles of FIFA's statues in this regard?
"Therefore, we ask FIFA, based on Articles 3 and 4 of its statutes, to immediately expel Iran from the World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
"This is not only a demand from our groups and campaigns in Iran. We will plead with all fans across the world to highlight, discuss, and back this call for Iran's expulsion from the World Cup, especially because we do not believe this team represents us or our values as Iranian citizens any longer."
As Iranian football fans, with heavy heart we asked FIFA, due to ongoing human rights violation based on Articles 3-4 of its statutes, immediately expel Iran from #Qatar2022 Worldcup.— OpenStadiums (@openStadiums) September 30, 2022
Open letter to @FIFAcom⬇️#MahsaAmini#مهسا_امینی#banIRfromWorldcup#StandwithIranianWomen pic.twitter.com/b1tbOJR3T2
Iran are due to face England in their opening match of the tournament on November 21.
They will then face Wales on November 25 before playing their final group game against the United States on November 29.
The calls for Iran to be expelled from the World Cup come as protests continue to spread across the country following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died while in police custody earlier this month.
Amini had been visiting the country's capital, Tehran, on September 13 when she was arrested by Iran's morality police officers for allegedly violating the strict law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab.
She collapsed after being taken to a detention centre and later died in hospital following three days in a coma.
Iran's soccer team wore black jackets to cover up their country's emblem during the national anthem. This is a huge statement of support for the protests in Iran and they're extremely brave for doing this. pic.twitter.com/yV1JBGB1I9— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) September 28, 2022
The authorities claim Amini died after suffering sudden heart failure. However, her family alleged that she was beaten by officers.
Her death has sparked anti-government protests across the country with at least 83 people killed in the demonstrations, according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, Iran's national team covered up the country's badge while their national anthem was played ahead of their match against Senegal, in an apparent protest against the government's actions.
Meanwhile, Norway-based organisation Iran Human Rights (IHR) has accused the authorities of using torture and live ammunition to suppress demonstrations in the country.
"The risk of torture and ill-treatment of protesters is serious and the use of live ammunition against protesters is an international crime," IHR's director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam told the BBC.
"The world must defend the Iranian people's demands for their fundamental rights."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Football World Cup, Qatar, Football, Gianni Infantino