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Iranian Official Announces Women’s Attendance Allowed at Football League Matches

A senior Iranian official said on Sunday that women, who have been banned from entering football stadiums in Iran save for special events, would be permitted entry for the next season.

Mehdi Taj, president of the Iranian Football Federation, called the inclusion of women in stadiums “one of the prominent features of this league” this year.

At the time, he was commenting on the next season of Iran’s top level football league during a live broadcast of the draw ceremony. The event, including 16 teams, will go off next month.

Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, women in Iran have been mostly forbidden from entering football and other sports venues.

Iran’s influential clerics have stated that women should be kept away from the macho environment and images of partially clothed male sportsmen.

The poor state of sports infrastructure has been cited as a contributing factor by several authorities.

Several stadiums outside of Tehran, including those in Isfahan, Kerman, and Ahvaz, Taj said on Sunday, are “ready” to host women’s matches.

In the national championship match between Tehran club Esteghlal and Mes Kerman in August, women were permitted to attend for the first time in years.

Another unusual occurrence occurred in October 2019 when 4,000 women were permitted into Tehran’s Azadi Stadium to watch Iran’s 2022 World Cup qualifier versus Cambodia.

After football enthusiast Sahar Khodayari committed herself in 2019 after being arrested for attempting to attend a match while dressed as a guy, Iran has been under increasing pressure to let women into matches.

Due of her allegiance to Esteghlal, the “blue girl” moniker stuck with Khodayari.

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