Iranian officials have condemned the international volleyball federation's decision to ban it from hosting international tournaments over its refusal to let women watch men's games.
The Federation de Volleyball (FIVB) recently barred the Islamic Republic of Iran Volleyball Federation (I.R.I.V.F.) from hosting volleyball events. This happened after news came out last week that the country's court jailed a British-Iranian woman, named Ghoncheh Ghavami for trying to attend a volleyball match.
The ban rattled the volleyball loving nation, leading to an Iranian judiciary official denying that Ghavami has been imprisoned. It was, however, confirmed that a court case was filed against Ghavami.
She was taken into custody on June 20 after she tried entering Azadi Stadium, ahead of a men's game, despite explicit orders by the authorities that no women will be allowed inside the venue.
Ghavami was freed a few hours later, but was arrested again a few days later after she returned to the police station she to collect her belongings.
Volleyball is one of the biggest sports in Iran, and its fans were looking forward to hosting the under-19 world championships next year. But in the light of above incident and Tehran's general refusal to grant women their due rights in sports, the FIVB have handed over the u-19 tournament to Argentina.
Moreover, an FIVB spokesperson said that the game's governing body will "not give Iran the right to host any future FIVB directly controlled events such as World Championships, especially under age, until the ban on women attending volleyball matches is lifted."
In a separate statement, it was said that "The FIVB has been working, and continues to work, with the Iranian Volleyball Federation and other authorities in Iran to try to secure Ghoncheh Ghavami's release. The FIVB does not normally seek to interfere with laws and cultures of any nation; however this sensitive incident merits particular attention.
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"Therefore, the FIVB's efforts in this area are ongoing in order to find a solution without putting the athletes and the fans of volleyball in the country at a disadvantage."
The loss of a major international tournament must have hurt Iran's misogynistic regime as its volleyball federation president soon expressed his displeasure at the ruling, but refrained from scathing criticism to avoid further sanctions.
His argument was that Ghavami's incident isn't related to the sport of volleyball and so the FIVB has no business making decisions on 'non-sporting activity.'
Contrary to what he thinks, barring a certain group of fans from stadium definitely falls under the jurisdiction of sports governing bodies. Iran has long discriminated against its women in sports. It's time someone steps up and teaches them a harsh lesson.
Expecting sports to change the conservative views of an entire nation is probably asking a bit too much, but it's the right course of action in this case.