Iranian women celebrate at Tehran’s Azadi stadium on Thursday before the 2022 World Cup qualifier between Iran and Cambodia. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Iranian Women Allowed into Stadium to Watch World Cup Qualifier

Authorities in Tehran gave, 3,000 women and girls access to the country’s Azadi national stadium on Thursday for a 2022 World Cup Asian qualifier between the Iranian national team and that of Cambodia. Banned from watching men’s sports in public since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the females were confined to a women-only section of the stadium. The move came after pressure from FIFA, the international governing body for football, and from women’s rights groups. Prior to the game, the semi-official Fars news agency warned the women that they could witness cursing and violence. “Now that the government has decided to let women into Azadi stadium… we must be hopeful that the spectators will try to respect Iranian women in order to change the public atmosphere of the stadium,” the warning said. FIFA reportedly sent observers to the game and said in a statement: “FIFA’s stance on the access of women to the stadiums in Iran has been firm and clear: Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. For all football matches.”

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