Barred from stadiums at home, Iran women travel to World Cup
DATE: Jun 16, 2013
Iran on Sunday said it is “awaiting the result” of the World Cup and urged its women’s football team to return home, less than two months after the team’s participation in the tournament was terminated.
Wearing a black sash and a traditional Iranian headdress that bears the head of Prophet Mohammad, the women’s football team was escorted out of a stadium in Shahr-e Kord in the city of Mashhad after Iran’s team failed to qualify for the third round.
The team was due to play Iran on June 16, but the authorities withdrew its invitation to take part after the authorities announced they would “investigate the Iranian women’s football team’s performance in the third round.”
Iran on Sept. 14 suspended its football women’s team — the first time in more than five decades that the country’s women’s team was barred from playing at the World Cup — after protests by Iranian women led officials to issue the ban.
On Sunday, Iran’s football federation said the World Cup was being held without its women’s team.
“The federation has yet to receive the report and the organization has been waiting while awaiting the results of the investigation,” the federation said in a statement, adding that the Iranian women’s team would “continue to be guided by the instructions of the Supreme Leader of Iran.”
Fahad Rastegar, president of the federation, called the decision to ban the team “a grave affront to women and to all Iranian citizens.”
“Our country is home to a large number of world-renowned sports teams,” Rastegar said. “But unfortunately, these teams are not allowed to compete on a global stage.”
“We appeal to the Iranian team not to act haughtily, and to return home as soon as possible,” he said. “This is a message to the outside world: If you cannot be proud of these great Iranian athletes representing the world, at least be proud of your own country.”
The women’s team’s suspension was widely viewed as