Iran has been stripped of the right to host the 2015 International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Boys’ Under-19 World Championships, it was revealed today.
The event will now take place in Argentina instead.
The decision to withdraw the event follows insidethegames’ exclusive story that the FIVB would not award any further events under its sanction to Iran until Ghoncheh Ghavami is released from prison and a ban on women attending matches is lifted.
Mahmoud Afshardoost, secretary general of the Iranian Volleyball Federation, has confirmed that the FIVB have already informed them of the decision to take the Boys’ Under-19 World Championships away from them.
“We received an email from the FIVB announcing a change of plan,” he told news agency Agence France-Presse.
“We are waiting to find out the real reason [behind the change] and we will then decide what to do.”
The world governing body made a pledge during a recent meeting with on-Governmental Organisation Human Rights Watch that they would not award events to Iran while Ghavami, a 25-year-old Iranian-British law graduate given a year’s prison sentence for attending an FIVB World League match in June between Iran and Italy, or a ban on women attending volleyball matches remained.
Clubs in Italy’s League Series A and the Super League tonight held a protest against Ghavami’s arrest by holding up banners before their matches calling for her to be freed.
The FIVB had warned that they would not move 2015 World League fixtures from Tehran because they had already been scheduled.
They have also claimed they had no influence over next year’s Asian Volleyball Championships recently awarded to Iran.
The event had been awarded to Tehran by the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVB), whose President is Saleh A. Bin Nasser from Saudi Arabia, a country often criticised by the International Olympic Committee for its lack of gender equality.
insidethegames has contacted the the Chinese-based AVC for a comment but has yet to receive a reply.
But, as international condemnation over the imprisonment of Ghavami and the blanket ban on women attending volleyball matches grows, these events must too now be in doubt.
This article first appeared in insidethegames.biz and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.