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Blatter urges Iran to lift female fan ban

TEHRAN, Iran -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter has asked Iranian authorities to end the ban on female football spectators in stadiums.

Sepp Blatter wants women in Iran to be able to attend games.

• Duerden on Teymourian

Thursday's remarks by Blatter came after talks with Iranian officials including Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

Iran is one of the few countries that blocks women from attending football matches, but has permitted female fans at some other sports venues in the past. Qatar, which only allowed its first female Olympic athletes last year, has promised that women fans will be welcome when it hosts the 2022 World Cup.

In 2006, then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said women could attend football matches in a special section, but the decision was overruled by higher authorities.

A year later, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi showed girls who dressed as men to sneak into football matches in Tehran.

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