Twelve thousand men watched the Iranian volleyball team beat the US in the world league series in Tehran on Friday night.
But very few women were in the crowd after ultra-conservative scholars ruled that they must be banned.
Just a handful of women from foreign embassies in Tehran and female referees were permitted to watch. Many others including female journalists were turned away from the venue.
Activists are angry that religious hardliners forced the u-turn when the country’s new president had backed an easing of restrictions.
Last year, several women including British-Iranian Ghoncheh Ghavami were arrested after protesting at a game between Iran and Italy. She was jailed for five months.