Sport: Iranian women watch football from the stands for first time in decades - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Sport Iranian women watch football from the stands for first time in decades

10:55  11 october  2019
10:55  11 october  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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Iranian women will be able to enter a football stadium on Thursday for the first time in decades , after Fifa threatened to suspend the Islamic republic over its controversial male-only policy.

Iranian women pose for a picture ahead of the World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C qualification football match between Iran and Cambodia at the Azadi They had to sit well apart from the men, and the stadium was practically empty, but thousands of Iranian women in merry jester hats and face paint

a group of people wearing costumes: Iran played in a 2022 World Cup qualifier at Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Stadium © Reuters Iran played in a 2022 World Cup qualifier at Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Stadium

Thousands of Iranian women have been allowed to attend a football match in their country for the first time in decades.

The World Cup qualifier against Cambodia was attended by women who had previously only been able to watch their team in person overseas or on television.

The women were allocated only 4,000 tickets at Tehran's Azadi Stadium, which holds around 80,000 people.

They sat at least 200 metres from the small crowd of men attending at the match, watched by 150 female security guards in black chadors.

It came after the lifting of a ban on women attending the games that had been in force since 1981, soon after the country's Islamic Revolution.

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The first batch sold out in less than an hour, and additional seats were also snapped up in short order, state media said. The sports ministry said the 100 There have been rare occasions in recent years when Iranian women have been allowed to watch matches, but this time they were free to buy their

Tickets for Iran -Cambodia match sell out in minutes after four decades of near-total ban.

Zahra Pashaei, a 29-year-old nurse, said: "We are so happy that finally we got the chance to go to the stadium. It's an extraordinary feeling."

Another fan who used only her first name - Mojgan - said: "I hope it will be repeated, because women need to come to the stadium for happiness and to support their team."

a group of people posing for the camera: The female football fans had to sit away from their male relatives © Reuters The female football fans had to sit away from their male relatives

In 2006, then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for women to attend matches to "improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere".

But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say, was against the idea.

Last year, a select group of women were invited to watch the Asian Champion League final in Tehran.

Iran had also been told it faced being banned from FIFA international matches if it did not allow women to attend games.

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World football ’s governing body FIFA ordered Iran last month to allow women access to stadiums without restriction and in numbers determined by demand for tickets. There have been rare occasions in recent years when Iranian women have been allowed to watch matches, but this time they were

Iranian women have attended a World Cup qualifier in Tehran after being freely allowed to enter a stadium for a men's match for the first time in decades . Women have effectively been banned from stadiums when men are playing since just after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The change followed the

In September an Iranian woman tried to sneak into a stadium dressed as a man and later died after setting herself on fire.

During the game on Thursday, the female football fans were shown on state television cheering, many dressed in their country's colours and waving flags.

(Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images) © Getty (Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images)

Iran scored their first goal in the fifth minute and went on to win 14-0.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: "There can be no stopping or turning back now.

"History teaches us that progress comes in stages, and this is just the beginning of a journey."

Others were less impressed, however, with Amnesty International calling the lifting of the ban "a cynical publicity stunt by the authorities intended to whitewash their image".

The ban was only lifted for international matches and Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director, said Iranian women should be able to attend all games.

Women prepare to enter a football stadium in Iran freely for the first time - with tickets selling out within MINUTES after FIFA ordered Tehran to end female ban

  Women prepare to enter a football stadium in Iran freely for the first time - with tickets selling out within MINUTES after FIFA ordered Tehran to end female ban Tehran has lifted a ban on female supporters attending football matches and thousands of Iranian women snapped up the 3,500 tickets that were available in less than an hour.The change in ruling comes after FIFA demanded women be able to attend football matches or for Iran to face suspension from the association.

Waving flags and snapping selfies, thousands of Iranian women on Thursday attended a football match freely for the first time in decades , after FIFA Last month, world football 's governing body FIFA ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without restriction and in numbers determined

Iran 's World Cup qualifier against Cambodia on Thursday will be a landmark moment for the country, as women will be able to officially enter a football stadium for the first time in decades .

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