Women allowed to watch Iran-Iraq match in Tehran stadium – report

An Iranian female football fan poses ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup Asian Qualifiers match against Iraq, the first time in three years women were allowed to attend a national team match. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI — Iranian women were allowed Thursday for the first time in three years to attend a football match of their country’s national team in a Tehran stadium, AFP reported.

“I am very happy. This is the first time I have attended a match at the Azadi Stadium,” said a 26-year-old civil engineer who gave her name only as Mahya, according to AFP.

ISNA news agency reported that ten thousand tickets, of which two thousand were exclusive to women, were available for the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Iraq.

The last time Iranian women were allowed to attend a football match of their national team, after decades of being banned from stadiums, was October 2019, AFP said. Since then, national team matches were held with no spectators due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The women were separated from men in the stands and monitored by policewomen.

The Islamic republic has generally barred female spectators from football and other stadiums for around 40 years. Clerics, who play a major role in decision-making, argue women must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men.

World football’s governing body FIFA ordered Iran in September 2019 to allow women access to stadiums without restriction and in numbers determined by demand for tickets.

A month later they were able to attend the 2022 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Cambodia in the Azadi Stadium.

(Esta Media Network/AFP)

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