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Iranian women allowed to attend national soccer match for first time in over 40 years

Five hundred women have been allowed to enter Tehran’s Azadi Stadium to watch a league match between Tehran-based Esteghlal FC and visiting side Sanat Mes Kerman FC of the city of Kerman, it was announced on Thursday. the semi-official Fars news agency.

The women were separated from the men in the stadium and entered through a special entrance via a parking lot, according to the Iran Football Federation website.

Iran’s ban on women attending sports stadiums is not enshrined in law but was put in place shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

While Thursday was the first time in over 40 years that Iranian soccer fans were allowed to watch a domestic match, women were able to attend a small number of domestic matches.

This year, Iranian women were allowed to share in a historic moment as Iran qualified for November’s World Cup in Qatar.

Three years earlier, thousands of women were allowed to attend a World Cup qualifier between Iran and Cambodia in 2019, following pressure from human rights groups and the government. world governing body for sport, FIFA.

Iranian women allowed to attend national soccer match for first time in over 40 years
FIFA had come under increasing pressure that year to force Iran to reverse its ban on women entering sports stadiums, particularly following the death of Sahar Khodayari, a fan who set herself on fire. fire after being denied access to a football stadium in Tehran. .

Nicknamed the “blue girl” on social media after the colors of her favorite Iranian football team, Esteghlal, Khodayari was accused of “openly committing a guilty act” by “appearing in public without a hijab” when she attempted to enter a stadium “dressed as a man” in March 2019, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

On Thursday, women were heard singing “Blue Girl” – a tribute to Khodayari years after his death.


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