DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian women fans will be allowed to attend a men’s soccer World Cub qualifying match in the Islamic Republic in October, the official IRNA news agency quoted a Sports Ministry official as saying on Sunday, amid heightened pressure from FIFA.
While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches in Iran, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men’s teams are playing since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
FIFA wrote to the Iranian Football Federation in June asking it to provide a timeline towards women being able to buy tickets for the qualifiers, or face consequences.
“Women can go to Tehran’s Azadi stadium to watch the match between Iran’s national team and Cambodia in October for the Qatar World Cup qualifier,” IRNA quoted deputy Sports Minister Jamshid Taghizadeh as saying.
The AFC, the Asian football governing body which has 47 members including Iran, said on Tuesday it was working to help world soccer governing body FIFA find an “amicable solution” that would allow Iranian female fans to attend future games in Iran.
“There is no legal ban for women to watch the football matches in the stadium. The activation of the infrastructure is underway,” Taghizadeh said.
Iranian female fans have long campaigned to be allowed to watch men’s soccer and occasionally a limited number of women have been allowed into the stadium.
In June, some women were detained by security forces when they went to the Azadi Stadium for a friendly against Syria. Last year, some women risked arrest by donning fake beards and wigs to attend a major game in the stadium. Their pictures and videos were posted on social media.
The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Frances Kerry)