It is being reported that FIFA has required Iran to lift its ban on women entering football stadiums before the upcoming qualifiers. If this is not done then the potential for Iran to be banned from qualification arises. Whether FIFA takes the nuclear option or not remains to be seen as the ban isn't from the Iranian FA but a result of policies from hard-line clerics.
It is a tough issue, particularly as Iran is football mad and the women desperately want to enter the stadium to watch matches, so much so that many sneak in dressed as men. The footballers don't seem to mind, the fans are keen for more women, however grizzled conservatives have a different opinion. Given the current tensions Iran has with the US and the UK in the Straits of Hormuz, their opinion may carry greater weight than usual.
Should the ban remain in place then Iran may be dropped from qualification, resulting the AFC losing one of its strongest members. How this would be received inside Iran from the general citizenry would make for interesting viewing.
Iran's first game is in Hong Kong in five weeks and first home game against Cambodia in early October. I guess we'll find out soon enough.
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