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World Cup 2018: Controversy rages on around women issues in Russia

first_imgRussia’s promise of a safe, happy and clean World Cup is beginning to look shallow a week after FIFA’s showpiece event kicked off in Moscow with the hosts decimating Saudi Arabia.A female reporter was last week subjected to sexual harassment and groping during a live broadcast at the World Cup. While she was reporting, a man appeared, held her and kissed her on the cheek.Without flinching, the reporter Julieth Gonzalez Theran continued with her report and completed the broadcast for Deutsche Welle’s Spanish news channel before coming out with her story later.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEGonzalen Theran took to Instagram to share a video of that broadcast in which the incident happen. In the video, while Theran is speaking, a man runs up to her and kisses her on her cheek while appearing to touch her breasts. He then immediately ran away.As if that was not bad enough, Maryam Qashqaei Shojaei, an Iranian women’s activist, said she was stopped by security officials in Kazan from entering with a banner protesting Iran’s ban on women attending stadium matches. Julieth Gonzalez Theran was groped while she was reporting outside the stadium (Julieth Gonzalez Theran Instagram Photo)FIFA WORLD CUP: FIXTURES | POINTS TABLE”When I was trying to get in with my banner security told me I can’t take it in,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Kazan.”I showed them my approval. They searched me and held me two hours and took the banner.”Iranian women watch football in Tehran stadium for first time since 1979advertisementReuters reported Anton Lisin, a spokesman for Russia’s World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC), as saying that he was aware of an incident involving Shojaei but he could offer no other details.It is still not clear why the officials stopped Shojaei from entering the stadium with her banner.During Iran’s World Cup opener against Morocco on June 16, supporters held up banners which read: ‘Support Iranian Women Attend Stadiums.’In Russia, a plea to support Iranian women to enter stadiumsHours after the incident, FIFA issued a statement to confirm the banner had its approval since there was no political ideology behind the placards.In contrary to Tehran’s “Happy” night, Iranian activists in Kazan had hard time with security forces in Kazan because of the banner they had premission from FIFA for it and showed it during Iran’s first match.This is FIFA’s answer: pic.twitter.com/VxMjtuGhdzOpenStadiums (@openStadiums) June 21, 2018The week-old tournament has dominated headlines for some wonderful football as well as some unsavoury incidents off the field.In Russian president Vladimir Putin’s eyes, hosting the World Cup sends a message of defiance to the world and his own people which fits his favored storyline: Russia is succeeding despite Western efforts to hold it back.Iran captain says World Cup not the right place to discuss women issues”For Putin, hosting the World Cup speaks to the failure of sanctions and the failure of Western efforts to isolate him,” said Professor Sergei Medvedev, of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, referring to Western sanctions first imposed on Russia after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.”Despite all that, (his mindset is) we still have Crimea, we are pursuing our agenda, and yet look everyone has come to the World Cup”, Medvedev said.However, instances like the groping incident and blocking women’s rights activists from entering stadiums will not send a great signal to the rest of the world.Ironically, even as the woman activist was being held up by security officials in Russia, thousands of women gathered at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium to watch a televised World Cup match between Iran and Spain.(With agency inputs)last_img

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