Monday, November 10, 2014

FIVB Sanctions Iran Over its Ban on Female Spectators

The International Volleyball Federation has sanctioned Iran for jailing a woman who attended a recent FIVB World League volleyball match. Women are banned from attending matches in Iran. FIVB says that Iran must lift the ban. Human Rights Watch has details here.

It is unclear how severe the sanction actually is, as several planned FIVB events in iran are unaffected by the ban. reports:
There will be no events awarded to Iran by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) until Ghoncheh Ghavami is released from prison and a ban on women attending matches is lifted, it has been revealed.

The pledge was made by the FIVB during a meeting with Non-Governmental Organisation Human Rights Watch after they called upon them to "step up its action" to support the Iranian-British woman sentenced to a year in jail in Iran for attending a match.

The new ban does not include next year's FIVB World League, whose fixtures had already been scheduled.

It also does not include the 2015 Asian Volleyball Championships, awarded to Tehran even though there is international condemnation of the arrest of Ghavami.
However, according to the FIVB, the under-19 World Championships have in fact been stripped from Iran and awarded to Argentina. Iran's volleyball federation says it is unaware of the actions.

The FIVB action is significant, and stands in stark contrast to how FIFA has handled issues of alleged human rights abuses in Qatar and Russian's incursion into Ukraine. FIVB has been put under considerable pressure by human rights organization, and its pledge to sanction Iran was announced by Human Rights Watch, an NGO.

The FIVB itself has very recently been the focus of its own governance issues, as chronicled by Play the Game. Its president has been accused of violating its statutes in order to extend his term.

Where sport meets society, messiness inevitably results. The FIVB sanctioning of Iran represents an important case of a sports organization paying attention to what is going on in the outside world, and taking action.


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