FIFA has admitted it was wrong to eject fans at the Women's World Cup for wearing tee-shirts calling for Iranian women to be let into football stadiums.
Two fans were removed from Stade des Alpes in Grenoble during Canada's 2-0 win against New Zealand last Saturday (June 15) because their shirts carried slogans, but football's governing body now says that the message was social and not political, meaning it did not breach any rules.
A statement said: "FIFA believes that the message to allow women into football stadiums in Iran is a social, not political, matter and so the message on the front of the t-shirts worn by two fans is not against the FIFA rules.
"The fans should not have been asked to remove their t-shirts or to leave the stadium by local security, even if there were other messages on the back of their t-shirts.
"FIFA will do its best to ensure that any similar situations do not occur at future matches during the competition."
The Open Stadiums group has been campaigning for women to be allowed to access men's sporting events in Iran after a 40-year ban.
In March 2018, 35 women in Tehran were arrested for attempting to watch a football match but there have been some exceptions, including the Asian Champions League final between home side Persepolis and Japan’s Kashima Antlers at Tehran’s Azadi in November.
FIFA claim they are working with Iran to try to end the ban.
🇮🇷| 2 fans were escorted from the #NZLCAN game in Grenoble for wearing t-shirts expressing opposition to the exclusion of Iranian women from football.— FansEurope (@FansEurope) June 16, 2019
We expect swift clarification from the tournament organisers.
Thanks to our Aussie colleague Petr Kuzmin for making us aware. pic.twitter.com/eXVjFHzMUy
Australian fan Petr Kuzmin witnessed the two women being ejected in Grenoble and told BBC Sport he was incensed by the scenes.
He revealed the couple wearing the t-shirts, which carried a message about hijabs on the front, did not resist ejection.
He told BBC Sport: "The main message [on the t-shirts] was about allowing women access to stadiums and to have it censored like this seemed ridiculous."
"I'm glad Fifa made the right decision to formulate the right response, even if it took three days, and I think it's a good sign that they are interested in promoting women's access to stadiums in Iran."
Russian native Kuzmin found a shared love of football helped him settle into his new surroundings when he moved to Australia almost 13 years ago.
Prior to the men's World Cup in Russia last year, he brought fans together by setting up an Aussie Supporteroos page on Facebook, which led to interest in a Fan World Cup, which was formalised in Russia.
Kuzmin organised friendly matches against the Socceroos’ Group C opponents France, Peru and Denmark in the lead up to the tournament,
Following the success of the Supporteroos, Kuzmin continues to reach out to football fans across the globe whenever Australian teams play abroad.