Iran Football Federation Announces Women's Access to Football Stadium Galleries
Watching football matches in galleries without any special exceptions was prohibited in Iran. The President of the Iran Football Federation (FFIRI) announced yesterday that women will be able to watch football matches in galleries starting from the upcoming season.
Mehdi Taj, the President of the Iran Football Federation, said, "One of the attractions of the league this year is that women will be able to watch matches in the stadium galleries." He mentioned this during a live broadcast of the league's draw event for the upcoming month, which will start with 16 teams.
Since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the presence of women in stadiums has been mostly prohibited in football and other sports, although there is no written law on this matter.
Religious leaders have had a significant influence on various decisions in Iran. They argue that in this male-dominated society, it is necessary to keep women safe by not exposing them to sports that involve uncovering the whole body. Some Iranian officials argue that there is no proper arrangement in stadiums to showcase women's sports.
Last Wednesday, Mehdi Taj said that there are arrangements to showcase women's sports in the galleries of stadiums in Isfahan, Kerman, and Ahvaz cities. However, he did not mention anything about the capital Tehran. After many years, in August last year, women were allowed to watch matches in the galleries for the first time during the national championship match between the Esteghlal and Mes Kerman clubs in Tehran.
However, Iranian women had the opportunity to watch matches in stadium galleries during the World Cup qualifying round against Cambodia in Tehran's Azadi Stadium in 2019. Permission to watch matches in stadiums for women was granted after the death of Sahar Khodayari, a female football fan in Iran, sparked pressure.
Khodayari had set herself on fire in protest because she was arrested for trying to enter the stadium dressed as a man. She was a supporter of Esteghlal, and fans of the club called her the "Blue Girl" due to her jersey's color.