By Simon Evans
LJUBLJANA (Reuters) – European football’s governing body (UEFA) said on Tuesday it would tell member clubs and national teams not to play games in countries where women do not have full access to stadiums.
UEFA’s ruling executive committee agreed that it would “recommend to its 55 national associations and all European clubs not to play matches in countries where women have restricted access to stadiums”.
UEFA did not specify which countries the action would affect.
Iran, however, has been the focus of attention since a female fan died earlier this month, after setting herself on fire to protest against her arrest for attending a match.
Soccer’s world governing body FIFA says it has been given assurances by Iranian authorities that their World Cup qualifier against Cambodia in Tehran on Oct. 10 will be open to women.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said his body did not have the power to punish European teams who might play in countries that do not allow unrestricted access to women, but stressed that there was wide support in his organization for the approach and for not playing teams from those countries.
“We cannot punish anyone if they play (in these countries) because it is out of our jurisdiction but that doesn’t mean we should be quiet and say we can’t do anything and we (just) develop European football,” said the Slovene.
“Our advice to 55 associations and all the clubs… will be not to play there or with the teams from those countries where the basic rights of women are not respected.
“The representatives of the clubs and the leagues agreed with us”.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)