(November 12, 2018 / JNS) Hundreds of women were allowed to attend the Asian Champions League soccer final in Tehran on Saturday, a tentative end to a decades-old ban on women attending top soccer matches in Iran.
Iranian women have not been allowed to attend men’s sporting events since the Islamic revolution in 1979 and have been banned from top soccer matches since 1981.
But on Saturday, somewhere between 100 and 500 women, depending on reports, were admitted to the Azadi (Freedom) Stadium to watch Iran’s best-loved club, Persepolis, try to beat Japan’s Kashima Antlers.
According to reports, there were 80,000 men gathered at the game. The women were primarily relatives of players or members of Iran’s female football and futsal teams, as well as football federation employees.
As 80,000 people gathered at the Azadi to watch Saturday’s game, Iranian social-media reports said most of the women who had been let into the stadium were relatives of players or members of Iran’s female football and futsal teams, and football federation employees.
Female fans visiting from other countries have been permitted to attend games at the Azadi Stadium in the past.
According to reports, Iranian parliament member Fatemeh Zolqadr said the world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, had demanded women be allowed to attend top-level games in Tehran.
A campaign organization called Open Stadiums presented FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura with a petition signed by more than 200,000 people this week, which called for open access to venues in Iran or women.