Iran women inching forward in fight for return to stadiums



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Iran Stadium Image: Hamed Malekpour / Mashreghnews.ir

Women in Iran may get to support their team during a football match to be held in October for the 2020 FIFA World Cup qualification. They will be able to watch their players in action against Cambodia.

This will happen for the first time in 40 years. During the World Cup in Russia, Iranian women were allowed inside the precincts of the Azadi Stadium in Tehran to watch a match between Iran and Spain.

The Iranian news agency has reported that the women of that country are inching forward in their fight to get access back to stadiums. The ban was lifted (for the match with Cambodia to be held at Azadi Stadium in Tehran on October 10) as a result of FIFA turning up the heat on Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI).

FIFA also put forward the condition that if women were not allowed inside the stadium, the Iranian team would face the music.

As a result of this initiative taken by FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) also supported this move and said that in future they will be working with the former to ensure that the ban was lifted for good.

In recent years, partial relaxation of ban on women entering stadiums has been noticed in Iran. In a friendly match with Bolivia in 2018, 100 women were allowed to enter the stadium. A month later, 500 female fans watched the AFC Champions League final. This time round, FIFA is resolute that the ban will have to be lifted permanently.

In 1979, Iranian women were banned from entering stadiums. Many a time they had to dress up as men to watch soccer matches and there are instances of female fans being jailed when caught.

The FIFA initiative should translate into Iranian women getting access to Iran stadiums for good.

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