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Iran Bans Women From Soccer Matches

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http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=367442&cc=5901

I wonder if we'll see any outcry from the liberals on this one. I'm appalled that anyone gives that country's leaders the time of day. I'd say "shocked and appalled," but in a world where China is on the Human Rights Commission, nothing really surprises me in foreign affairs.

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From what I can tell, this ban has been in effect for many years. What happened recently is that their crazy president decided to lift the ban and allow women to attend. He wanted to create special seating etc. He ran up against some clerics a wee bit crazier than himself and he backed down, keeping the ban in place.

Turns out that 100 women actually watched a soccer match in Tehran anyway. A snippet from the article:

Journalist Parastou Dokuhaki was one of those women who watched yesterday's match. She said she wanted to watch the game "to see how it feels." She told the "Rooz" newspaper that the women blocked the way into the stadium and kept chanting and singing until they were allowed in. The women chanted, "Freedom is my right, Iran is my country" and "How many steps toward freedom?"

The other soccer-related ban is one that disallows soccer-players from having "ponytails and sculpted beards". From what I can tell, the Iranians like their soccer players and the government does not like heroes. They might have banned long-hair, but releted saying "The Prophet Mohammad had long hair". Does it get any more concrete-bound than that?

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I think an interesting question related to this is whether FIFA should ban them from participating in the World Cup. The case for doing so is obvious, but at the same time, I'm not really happy about international sporting organisations getting invovled in politics - it seems like a slippery slope waiting to happen. Although having said that, I recall Yugoslavia beind banned from the European Championships a few years back.

In this particular case, I think a ban would be justified, since the political issues are directly related to football. An ultimatum along the lines of "stop discriminating against fans or face expulsion from the compeition" would be a nice thing to see, although I doubt FIFA has the bottle to take such a hardline stance.

Edited by Hal
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In this particular case, I think a ban would be justified (...) An ultimatum along the lines of "stop discriminating against fans or face expulsion from the compeition" would be a nice thing to see, although I doubt FIFA has the bottle to take such a hardline stance.

Just imagine the riots in the muslim world this would bring about...

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I think an interesting question related to this is whether FIFA should ban them from participating in the World Cup. The case for doing so is obvious, but at the same time, I'm not really happy about international sporting organisations getting invovled in politics -

To my knowledge, FIFA dind't ban Iraq after one of Saddam's little angels had the national team beaten and tortured for loosing some match.

The international sports organizations are alreasy involved in politics, mostly on the left. Remember, must of these were founded by Europeans and are largely dominated by Europeans.

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Heh, at first I thought this was talking about women soccer players who weren't allowed to play anymore. Coincidentally, does anyone know if they can over there? I can't imagine them running around in those short pants soccer players wear; it would be the most popular sight to see in the country :)

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