WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Iranian women were allowed to watch a football game last Thursday for the first time in decades after FIFA threatened to suspend Iran if it will not lift its male-only policy.
- The order came after a football fan called “Blue Girl” died after setting herself on fire in September in fear of getting arrested for dressing up as a boy so she can watch a game.
- Iran has banned women from football and other stadiums for about 40 years because clerics believe they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clothed men.
Iranian women were allowed to enter a football stadium last Thursday for the first time in about forty years. The move came after FIFA threatened to suspend Iran if it will not lift its controversial male-only policy.
The Islamic country has banned women from football and other stadiums for about four decades because clerics believe they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clothed men.
Last month, FIFA ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without restrictions and in numbers determined by the demand for tickets. The order came after a fan called “Blue Girl” set herself on fire in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran last month in fear of getting arrested for dressing up as a boy in order to watch a game. She died a week after the incident.
After the ban was lifted, women immediately bought tickets to watch Iran’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cambodia at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium last Thursday. In less than an hour, the first batch of tickets was sold out and additional seats were also snapped up in short order, according to a state media.
Football journalist Raha Poorbakhsh was among the 3,500 women to have secured a ticket.
“I still can’t believe this is going to happen because after all these years of working in this field, watching everything on television, now I can experience everything in person,” she told AFP.
People of Tehran support the decision to allow women into stadiums.
A woman named Hasti said: “I would like there to be freedom for women, like men, to go freely and even sit side by side without any restrictions, like other countries.”
Iranian women have only had rare access to stadiums. About 20 Irish women attended a World Cup qualifier in 2001, and four years later a few dozen Iranian women were allowed to watch the national “Team Melli” take on Bahrain, the Guardian reported.
About 100 Iranian “handpicked” women entered Azadi in October for a friendly match against Bolivia. The following day, however, the prosecutor general warned it will not happen again, arguing that it would “lead to sin”.
Source: The Guardian