FIFA president Gianni Infantino made his organization’s rules very clear to Iran on Thursday.
Infantino said that now is the time for Iran to lift a ban on women entering soccer stadiums before the country hosts a World Cup qualifying match next month.
“Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran,” Infantino said in a statement.
“We understand there are steps and processes that need to be taken before this is done in a proper and safe way but now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October.”
FIFA did not indicate what would happen if the ban remains in place.
Attention on Iran’s gender discrimination regarding sporting events intensified when a 29-year-old activist, Sahar Khodayari, dubbed Iran's "blue girl," died earlier this month after succumbing to third-degree burns when she set herself on fire outside a courthouse. She was detained for dressing like a man to enter a soccer stadium to see her favorite team, Esteqlal, and was expected to face up to 6 months in prison.
Infantino has urged Iran to lift the ban imposed after the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago. Iran had briefly relaxed its rule in November when hundreds of women were selected to attend an Asian Champions League final second leg game.
Iran is set to host Cambodia in a World Cup qualifier in Tehran on Oct. 10. FIFA officials have been monitoring preparations at the stadium should the ban be lifted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.