Iran has Banned Women from accessing Football Stadiums
Iran has banned women from accessing football stadiums. The measure was announced ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Lebanon on Tuesday night. The match ended with a score of 2:0 for Iran, and was played at Imam Reza Stadium in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
“About 2,000 Iranian women who bought tickets for the Iran-Lebanon match were present in the vicinity of the Imam Reza Stadium, but could not enter the stadium,” ISNA reported.
Iranian team captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh has joined the wave of criticism of the restrictions. “I don't think anything would have happened if the women had come to the stadium,” the captain was quoted as saying by state television IRIB.
Mohsen Davari, the governor of Mashhad, apologized to anyone who could not enter the stadium.
Torn by controversy, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi instructed the interior ministry to investigate the incident.
Iran's Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri also spoke out against the ban, saying in a radio interview that “if conditions allow the sale of tickets to women, a suitable place must be found for them. The case is unacceptable ... and shows poor governance,” he said.
In January, the women were eligible to attend an international match - for the first time in almost three years - to qualify for the World Cup against Iraq.
The Islamic Republic has generally banned women from attending football and other sporting events since its inception in 1979.
Clergy, who play a key role in decision-making, argue that women should be protected from the male atmosphere and should not watch half-dressed athletes.
As early as September 2019, FIFA ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without restrictions
FIFA then threatened to remove Iran from the competition because of a case in which a woman set herself on fire and died for fear of being imprisoned for attending a match dressed as a man.
Her death caused outrage among the world football community, which in turn led to calls for Iran to be removed from all football matches.
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