Tehran: Foreign women may be allowed to attend football matches in Iran, a top official said Saturday, but a ban on female nationals watching live games seems set to remain.
The comments came a day after FIFA chief Sepp Blatter called the exclusion of women from stadiums an "intolerable situation" that he raised when he met Iran`s President Hassan Rouhani in 2013.
Blatter, in FIFA`s weekly magazine, appealed to Iranian authorities to "open the nation`s football stadiums to women".
"A collective stadium ban still applies to women in Iran, despite the existence of a thriving women`s football organisation. This cannot continue," he wrote.
Access to football stadiums has been forbidden for women since the Islamic revolution in 1979, on the official basis that the ruling protects them from obscene behavior among male fans.
The ban, however, has been deemed a major obstacle to Iran`s ambitions of hosting the 2019 Asian Nations Cup.
Without giving a timeframe, Ali Kafashian, president of Iran`s Football Federation, told Isna news agency that the Asian Football Confederation has "requested certain facilities that we have agreed to supply".
"We have problems regarding the presence of women in stadiums, but in relation to foreigners, we are looking at how to solve the problems," he said.
Such a step would appear to follow Iran`s Volleyball Federation, which in January said it would break with custom and allow foreign women to attend male matches when it hosts a major tournament this summer.
That decision came months after the sport`s governing body, the FIVB, said it would not allow the Islamic republic to host international events while its gender policies remained in place.