It was reportedway back in July that organizers of the FIVB World League volleyball matches in Tehran have barred women from purchasing tickets. This violates the FIVB’s “fundamental principle” of non-discrimination.

Now, Iran is competing to host the FIVB’s World League tournament and the FIVB’s beach volleyball tournament in 2017.

Minky Worden, director of HRW’s global initiatives, said: “Iranian volleyball authorities broke their promises to make tickets freely available to women during the World League matches in July and suffered no consequence. Awarding Iran yet another World League tournament would only embolden the authorities in their discriminatory policies that side line women.”

HRW has previously  communicated with FIVB on this matter in a May 2016 letter to Graça and in-person at meetings in Lausanne, where the FIVB has its headquarters.

They want FIVB to launch a formal investigation into this practice of exclusion.

Worden said: “Despite its pledge to end discrimination in the stadiums, the Iranian volleyball federation appears to have constructed a system that denies most women any opportunity to attend matches. The FIVB should make clear that Iran will not be able to host international volleyball competitions until the Iranian federation makes good on its promises.”

This bizarre rule has been in place since 2012. In 2014 several women were arrested when they attempted to attend a game, including law student, Ghoncheh Ghavami. The others were released but Ghavami was charged with “propaganda against the state,” and held in Evin Prison for five months.

During this year’s Rio Olympics, Iran’s men’s volleyball team played for the first time and some Iranian women attended, holding up banners protesting Iran’s ban

Worden said: “The FIVB may want to build the sport of volleyball in Iran, but embracing gender discrimination and ugly double standards is no way to go about it.”