Women in Iran, who have long been banned from attending football matches except on rare occasions, will be allowed into stadiums next season. This was stated by the President of the Iranian Football Federation, Mehdi Taj. “This year, one of the main features of this league … is that we will see women entering the stadiums,” she said during a live broadcast of the next season’s draw ceremony in Iran’s first football league. The 16-team tournament will start next month. Iran has largely banned female spectators from soccer and other sports stadiums since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Although there is no law banning their participation, clerics have always maintained that women should be protected from the masculine atmosphere and from the viewpoint of athletes wearing shorts in the stadium. Taj explained that some stadiums in the cities of Isfahan, Kerman and Ahvas – but not in the capital, Tehran – are “ready” to host women. A year ago, women were allowed to attend a National Football League match for the first time in years, when Tehran’s Esteghlal club faced Meis Kerman’s team. And in another rare case, in October 2019, around 4,000 women were allowed to watch Iran’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cambodia at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. Iran has come under increasing pressure to allow women to attend matches following the death in 2019 of female cheerleader Sahar Khodayari, who set herself on fire fearing jail time after trying to watch a match disguised as a man. (ANSA – AFP).
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