19 February 2020

Iranian women allowed to watch football at stadiums

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Iranian women will be able to enter a football stadium on Thursday for the first time in decades after Fifa threatened to suspend the Islamic republic over its controversial male-only policy. Iran 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. reports citing The Guardian that world football’s governing body last month ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without restrictions and in numbers determined by the demand for tickets. The directive came after a fan dubbed “Blue Girl” died after setting herself on fire in fear of being jailed for dressing up as a boy in order to attend a match.

One of the 3,500 women to have secured a ticket was Raha Poorbakhsh, a football journalist. “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.

In October, as many as 100 Iranian “handpicked” women entered Azadi for a friendly against Bolivia. But the day after, the prosecutor general warned there would be no repeat, saying it would “lead to sin”.

2019.10.09 / 09:10
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