Iranian Women Allowed to Watch Football Match After FIFA Pressure
8/26/2022 2:42:30 PM

Authorities allowed hundreds of Iranian women to attend a professional domestic football match in Tehran on Thursday, following a ban on women attending sports stadiums.

“We’re happy that you’re present in the Azadi stadium,” Esteghlal FC’s official account said. 

According to reports, the match on Thursday came after international bodies pressured Iranian authorities, particularly FIFA, the international football governing body, and its Asian counterpart, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), who have written a joint letter calling on the Iranian authorities to allow women into league matches. 

In the past few years, women have only been allowed to attend a limited number of national matches, but on Thursday, authorities treated them to a league match. 

Last week, Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, “wherever we can prepare stadiums for women’s participation, there’s no obstacle, but the condition is that the stadiums are ready.” 

In 2019, FIFA had come under increasing pressure to force Iran to overturn its ban on allowing women to enter stadiums following the death of a female fan, Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire after being denied access to a football stadium in Tehran. 

Khodayari, dubbed as the "Blue Girl" on social media after the colors of her favorite Iranian football team, was charged with "openly committing a sinful act" for "appearing in public without a hijab" when she attempted to enter a stadium "dressed as a man." 

On Thursday, women chanted "Blue Girl!" 

Courtesy: Fourth Estate