A rights group has called on Fifa to ban Iran from this year’s World Cup after blocking women from watching games in their own country.

Open Stadiums questioned why the country was being allowed to compete while “Iranian women remain locked out of our ‘Beautiful Game’” by officials.

The call comes weeks after women were allowed to attend a domestic match for the first time since 1979.

However, the rights group was sceptical stadiums would remain open to women.

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It also argues that even those who travel to Qatar to watch matches risk falling foul of Iranian authorities, with fears state spies may keep tabs on those who attend.

Prohibiting women from games goes against international football rules, the letter points out, arguing Fifa should “immediately expel Iran from the World Cup 2022 in Qatar” as a result.

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