Aroundtherings - For the first time in nearly 40 years, several thousand women have been allowed into a stadium in IR Iran to watch a football match played by men.
This is a very positive step forward, and one which FIFA, and especially Iranian girls and women, have been eagerly waiting for. The passion, joy and enthusiasm they showed today was remarkable to see and encourages us even more to continue the path we have started. History teaches us that progress comes in stages and this is just the beginning of a journey.
Consequently, FIFA now looks more than ever towards a future when ALL girls and women wishing to attend football matches in IR Iran will be free to do so, and in a safe environment.
There can be no stopping or turning back now.
I would like to thank both the IR Iran FA, the AFC and the authorities involved for their efforts and cooperation. FIFA will continue to work closely with them, to help ensure that the right thing is done, which is to allow all fans, irrespective of gender, to have the chance to go to the stadiums and enjoy a game of football. Since I arrived at FIFA, we fight to see this objective fulfilled.
But, above all, today I want to say a very big thank you and record our utmost respect to all of the Iranian girls and women who courageously stood and are standing up for their rights.
FIFA fully supports them and will stand by them.
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