Sepp Blatter

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said Iran should be banned from the World Cup amid widespread protests in the Islamic Republic sparked by the death of a woman in the custody of morality police.

“Iran should be excluded from the World Cup,” Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick.

At a talk at its publisher’s headquarters, the newspaper added that Blatter had demanded harsh consequences and said he would have removed Iran from the competition had he still been in charge.

The protests in Iran pose one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran has accused foreign enemies of inciting unrest since the death of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in September after her arrest for allegedly flouting Iran’s strict dress code imposed on women.

Blick cited Blatter as saying it was incomprehensible that FIFA head Gianni Infantino had not taken a clear position on Iran.

Blatter, 86, made waves this week by saying it was a mistake to award Qatar the hosting rights to the World Cup, which begins on Nov. 20.