The US national soccer team may not compete against the Islamic Republic of Iran at the November Men’s World Cup in Qatar due to a legal initiative that aims to ban Iran due to its violent crackdown on women and protesters.
Fox News Digital obtained a seven-page letter that the Spanish law firm Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo sent to Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA (International Federation of Association Football), the governing body of football, stating: “It’s indisputable that the Iranian Football Association’s behavior towards women in the Iranian football hemisphere completely contravenes FIFA’s agenda on gender equality and gender justice and is undoubtedly a clear violation of FIFA’s statutes and regulations. “
The letter added: “We urge the FIFA Council to take responsibility and issue a decision suspending membership of the Iranian Football Association until they take appropriate steps to ensure that women can enter stadiums across the country and participate in all. the competitions organized by FIFA “.
The lawsuit was initiated by Iranian dissidents, including elite athletes, “who are concerned about the current situation in Iran”. Iran has been covered in demonstrations against the theocratic regime since a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, was reportedly killed by the regime’s moral police last month.
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The Iranian regime claims that Amini suffered a heart attack, causing outrage from his family and human rights activists, who vehemently contested the regime’s claim. The state’s notorious moral police arrested Amini for failing to adhere to a strict Islamic dress code that required her to cover her hair.
The Spanish law firm, specializing in sports law, says there are two legal avenues to suspend the Islamic Republic from the World Cup in Qatar. According to Article 19 of the FIFA Statute, “Each member federation manages its affairs independently and without undue influence from third parties”.
The lawsuit claims that the Iranian regime is improperly influencing its national team. According to the letter, “In 2006, Iran itself was suspended by FIFA for government interference. The president of the Iranian Football Association was displaced and FIFA asked for his reinstatement because his dismissal was believed to break the rules of the country. independence of the FIFA member association. “
The letter notes that “As far as we have seen, the FA [Football Association] some members of Iran are implementing the repressive agenda of the broader government and acting as their guardians; this defeats the very essence of independence “.
Although it was reported that Iran allowed women to return to sports stadiums in 2019, the lawsuit still addressed the issue. “Suppose women are not allowed into stadiums across the country and the Iranian FA has nothing to do with this but is just applying government guidelines, as they would say. In that case, they are not independent and free from influence. This applies against Article 19 “.
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The second legal avenue pursued by the Spanish law firm concerns alleged violations of the FIFA statutes against gender discrimination. According to the letter, “banning all women from entering stadiums and participating in the World Cup violates FIFA’s statutes and regulations”.
Fox News Digital has learned that FIFA has accused of having received the legal letter. Switzerland-based FIFA did not immediately respond to a Fox News press question sent Thursday evening.
The letter read: “The recent civil unrest and grievance in Iran has become a global movement and phenomenon. At this stage, it transcends Iran and Iranian women have become a symbol of the oppression of women everywhere, and the whole world has co- Allowing the Iranian men’s team to participate in the World Cup while the FA continues to stifle women’s rights and deny them any form of participation in international football is a huge betrayal by FIFA to all women around the world, in particular to those who have been martyrs in the fight against the oppression of women. It is also a betrayal of FIFA, of its values and of all these years of effort and resources to promote women’s football. “
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Former Iranian Greco-Roman wrestling team coach (and now a US citizen) Sardar Pashaei is one of the signatories to the lawsuit. He told Fox News Digital: “The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is killing protesting teenagers in the streets of Iran, detaining and torturing athletes, while at the same time the regime wants to be a full member of the international sports community. . This is wrong.”
Pashaei, who is of Iranian-Kurdish origin and comes from the same hometown, Saqqez, of Amini, said: “Women cannot participate in some sports because they cannot be adequately covered. Nor can they participate in sporting events in stadiums.” .
He added: “If the world’s sports organizations and federations do not defend human values and human rights, civilized nations are sending the wrong message to future generations of athletes. My message to FIFA is this: the flag of the Islamic Republic is stained with the blood of Iranian protesters. Remove the tricolor flag of Iran and replace it with a red flag. “
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Fox News Digital sent media questions to the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) and the Government of the Islamic Republic, but neither had answered at press time.