Thursday 21 September 2023, 12:15

FIFA President encourages IR Iran to continue progress in meeting with President Ebrahim Raisi

  • Gianni Infantino and IR Iran President Ebrahim Raisi discussed the presence of women in football stadiums

  • IR Iran played in a third successive FIFA World Cup, when football united the world in Qatar in 2022

  • FIFA President reiterates desire to return to IR Iran in meeting on sidelines of United Nations General Assembly in New York

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has praised IR Iran’s recent progress in women’s football during a meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in New York.

Discussions centred around the topic of women’s football and the presence of women in football stadiums in the country with Mr Infantino thanking the President for the progress made so far, and encouraging the nation to continue to do more.

In October 2019, thanks to FIFA’s engagement, thousands of women were allowed to watch an IR Iran match at the Azadi Stadium; this was the first time in 40 years. Other matches then followed where women have been in attendance such as the FIFA World Cup qualifier between IR Iran and Iraq in January 2022, and again at a domestic league match in August 2022.

This season, the IR Iran Football Federation (FFIRI) reinforced their commitment to ensure all women can access all stadiums in IR Iran. In the first rounds of matches this season, women attended national league matches outside of Tehran for the first time in Sirjan, Qazvin, Arak and Anzali. The FFIRI works to further improve ticketing and access for women in other stadiums throughout IR Iran and FIFA remains in close contact with the FFIRI on the matter.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino meets with President of IR Iran Ebrahim Raisi

Discussions also touched on IR Iran’s recent on-field success, engagement with key stakeholders in line with FIFA Statutes, and potential opportunities to collaborate with the nation on football development.

The FIFA President told FFIRI President Mehdi Taj that he would like to travel to the country when the pair met at the 8th Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) Congress in May this year.

“I have already said I will visit IR Iran in the near future to discuss football-related matters, and I confirmed that desire to President Raisi,” said Mr Infantino. “IR Iran is a significant force in Asian football, and it is important for me to ensure we continue to nurture the positive and fruitful working relationship we have built.”

Football is thriving in IR Iran. The senior men’s team qualified for a third successive FIFA World Cup™️ - and their fifth overall - when they competed in Qatar last year, while the women’s senior side made history with a first qualification for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022. At youth level, the boys’ U-17 squad will be looking to go further than the quarter-final berth they achieved in 2017 when they participate in the upcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup™️ in Indonesia.

The country will also be able to exploit the expertise and resources of FIFA’s Talent Development Scheme and Women’s Football Development Programme in order to give the nation’s brightest talents the maximum opportunity to shine.

“National team football in IR Iran is flourishing, and I congratulated the President on the work that has been done to develop the game in his country,” said Mr Infantino. “I am sure that the FFIRI and the government will continue striving to bring the beautiful game to more and more Iranians.”