Women fans not to be allowed into Iran stadium after all | Inquirer Sports

Women fans not to be allowed into Iran stadium after all

/ 02:07 PM October 11, 2021
football fans world cup 2022 qualification

FILE – Iranian women cheer during the World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C qualification football match between Iran and Cambodia at the Azadi stadium in the capital Tehran on October 10, 2019. – The Islamic republic has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums for around 40 years, with clerics arguing they must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men. Women fans are attending the football match freely for the first time in decades after FIFA threatened to suspend the country over its controversial male-only policy. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Iranian women fans hoping to attend a football match for the first time in two years will have to wait — Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier is to be played behind closed doors.

The match at Tehran’s Azadi stadium against South Korea is to be played “without the presence of spectators”, the Iranian football federation announced Sunday, in a statement carried by the state news agency IRNA.

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No reason was given for the decision, which came just days after the state television-linked Young Journalists Club had said Iranian women would be allowed into the stadium for the South Korea match.

A year-long ban had previously been in force on all fans entering stadiums in Iran because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The last time women were able to watch a game at the 80,000-seat Azadi stadium was in October 2019, when Iran thrashed Cambodia 14-0.

Women were refused access to stadia after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, officially to protect them from inappropriate male behavior.

World football’s governing body FIFA has exerted pressure on Iran to allow women into international matches.

But Iran has only ever permitted limited attendance, capping it at 1,000 female supporters in 2018, although 3,500 women were able to watch the Cambodia game.

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TAGS: Iran stadium, Iranian football federation, Iranian women fans
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