November 29, 2022

For the first time in 40 years, Iranian women were given the right to attend sports stadiums. Women in large numbers attended Tehran’s Azadi stadium to watch a professional domestic football match in Tehran after they were given access to do so.

They watched a match between Tehran-based Esteghlal FC and Sanat Mes Kerman FC from Kerman news agency Fars said on Thursday. Women were separated from men in the stadium and were given access through a car park, according to the Iranian Football Federation website.

Iran banned women from attending sports stadiums after the 1979 Islamic Revolutions but it was never written into law. Though they were allowed to attend a few national team matches this is the first time they were given access to watch a game between local teams.

Due to pressure from the human rights group and FIFA, women were permitted to attend a match between Iran and Cambodia, in 2019.

In March 2019 Sahar Khodayari – a female football fan, who dressed up as a man to enter the stadium, set herself on fire as she was denied entry. In that same year, FIFA increased its pressure on Iran to let women enter the stadium. On Thursday, women were finally let into stadiums to watch the match.

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