Iran has lifted the ban on women attending football stadiums for the first time in 40 years following a threat to suspend the republic from FIFA.
For the first time in around 40 years, 3,500 Iranian women will attend Iran's 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cambodia on October 10. Allocated tickets for the fixture sold out in under an hour, with additional seating being booked quickly as well.
The ban has been lifted following pressure from the governing body of world football, FIFA. The organisation demanded that Iran lift the ban on women following the death of "Blue Girl" - an Iranian football fan who set herself on fire in protest of being arrested for trying to attend a match dressed as a boy.
The ban on women in stadiums has never been written into Iranian laws or regulations but was heavily enforced throughout the country.
Iranian football journalist, Raha Poorbakhsh, was one of the women to secure a ticket for the upcoming fixture. "I still can't believe this is going to happen because after all these years of working in this field, watching everything on television, now I can experience everything in person," she told news agency AFP.
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Women will be segregated from the men in the Azadi Stadium, as well as being accompanied and watched by 150 police officers. It's expected that Iranian women who are without tickets for the game are planning to travel from as far as southern Iran in the hope of securing last-minute entry to the historic occasion.
As the 2022 World Cup in Qatar draws closer, Iran has been mounted with ever-growing pressure from FIFA to allow women into more stadiums and fixtures, but the governing body says they have been "assured" by Iranian authorities that women will be granted access.
A delegation from FIFA will also be in attendance of the qualifier against Cambodia, and their Head of Education and Social Responsibility, Joyce Cooke, told the BBC that FIFA "is firm and committed that all fans have an equal right, including women, to attend matches."News Now - Sport News