UEFA urges European clubs to boycott countries banning women from stadiums

UEFA has called on European teams to refuse to play matches in countries where women are banned from entering stadiums.

The announcement comes following calls by FIFA to give women in Iran free unlimited access to stadiums.   -  Getty Images

UEFA has called on European teams to refuse to play matches in countries where women are banned from entering stadiums, the organisation's president, Aleksandar Ceferin, said on Tuesday.

“The Executive Committee will recommend all 55 national associations and all European clubs, not to play matches in countries where women have restricted access to stadiums,” Ceferin said in Ljubljana following a meeting of European football's governing body.

The announcement comes following calls by FIFA to demand that women in Iran be allowed free unlimited access to stadiums in the country. They have been barred from football and other stadiums in the Islamic republic since 1981, despite international pressure to let them attend.

Earlier this month, one female fan set herself ablaze and died after being arrested for trying to enter a stadium dressed as a man in order to watch an Esteghlal FC game.

Read: Iranian football fan dies after setting herself on fire

Italian football authorities were criticised last year after organising their domestic Super Cup between Juventus and AC Milan in Saudi Arabia, where women have also been banned from attending sporting events.

“As much as we know, two countries in the world don't allow women and girls to watch football,” Ceferin said.

“We cannot punish anyone if they play against it, it is out of our jurisdiction, it is FIFA's jurisdiction, but that doesn't mean that we should be quiet and say we can't do anything.”

The UEFA chief added that representatives of the European Club Association attended Tuesday's meeting and were in agreement with the call.

“Our advice to 55 associations and all the clubs will be not to play there or with the teams from these countries where the basic rights of women are not respected,” he went on.

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