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FIFA panel urges tough line on Iran’s ban of female fans

Morocco v Iran: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 15: A sign is held by fans in support of Iranian women in football during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Morocco and Iran at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA-appointed human rights experts want the soccer body to set Iran a deadline for ending a ban on women attending games.

The FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board says “FIFA should be explicit” giving the Iranian soccer federation a timetable to comply, and should warn of “anticipated sanctions if it does not.”

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FIFA’s statutes prohibit gender discrimination, though its leaders typically avoid publicly criticizing Iran’s government. This month, several hundred mostly selected women were allowed to watch the Asian Champions League final in Tehran.

In the board’s annual report, FIFA says it will extend the eight-member panel’s mandate through 2020.

The expert group points to “consistent progress that FIFA is making across a range of issues,” and plans to focus its next report on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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