UEFA urges boycott of clubs and countries where women aren’t allowed in stadia

By Andrew Warshaw

September 25 – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has urged European nations and clubs to boycott playing in countries where women are forbidden from attending men’s matches.

Ceferin used a news conference at the end of UEFA’s latest executive committee meeting in his home country of Slovenia on Tuesday to reveal that the organisation had recommended to its 55 nations and their clubs not to play anywhere “where women have restricted access to stadiums.”

In a clear reference to Iran and Saudi Arabia, Ceferin told reporters: “We know that two countries in the world do not allow women and girls to watch (men’s) football.”

“We can not punish anyone … but that does not mean we have to be quiet. So our advice to 55 federations and all clubs will be to ensure that their teams do not play in these countries or against teams from these countries where the basic rights of women are not respected.”

UEFA’s move seems bound to rekindle fierce debate over playing the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Juventus president Andrea Agnelli is a member of Ceferin’s executive committee as well as heading the European Club Association, which Ceferin said supported the initiative during Tuesday’s meeting as did league representatives.

UEFA’s tough stance came just days after FIFA president Gianni Infantino said FIFA “cannot wait any more” for women to be allowed into Iranian stadiums.

Last week a FIFA delegation visited Iran in the aftermath of a 29-year-old female fan dying after setting fire to herself following her arrest for trying to watch a men’s AFC Champions League match.

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