Iran Again Bans Women from Entering Football Stadium

Iran has once again blocked women from entering a football stadium to watch the 2022 World Cup soccer qualifying match on Tuesday since women have been mainly prohibited from attending men’s games and other sports events in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The semi-official ISNA news agency reported that 12,500 tickets were sold online, of which 2,000 had been reserved for women.

Iran defeated Lebanon 2-0 in the match played at the Imam Reza Stadium in the northeastern city of Mashhad and qualified for the World Cup to be played in Qatar.

Iran’s Football Team captain, Alireza Jahanbakhsh joined in criticism of the lockout, and said that nothing would have happened if women were allowed to come into the stadium rather it was a better chance for promoting “sports culture.”

Jahanbakhsh lamented over the incident in which a large number of women outside the stadium were deprived of watching the game.

Meanwhile, Mohsen Davari, governor of Mashadd, apologized that many people could not find a way inside the stadium to watch the game.

People on social media called on FIFA to suspend the Iranian football federation because it did not allow women to enter stadiums. “Iranian security forces used pepper spray against Iranian women when they wanted to watch the match,” Farnaz tweeted.

In January, women were allowed to attend an international match for the first time in almost three years, for a World Cup qualifier against Iraq.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA previously threatened to suspend Iran in 2019 after a female fan, Sahar Khodayar,i committed suicide by setting herself on fire in fear of being jailed after trying to attend a match disguised as a boy.

In 2019, for the first time in decades, Iranian women were allowed to watch Persepolis play the Kashima Antlers of Japan in Tehran for the Asian Champions League final.

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