Iranian Parliament May Decide Soon On Allowing Women Into Soccer Stadiums

The Iranian Parliament is set to decide soon on whether women should be allowed into soccer stadiums, a move pushed hard in recent years by FIFA, the world governing body for the sport.

Women have been banned from attending soccer matches in stadiums for four decades in the conservative Muslim nation.

"The Football Federation of Iran [FFI] has presented a draft to Parliament,” FFI Director General Hassan Kamranifar said on October 28, according to local media.

“If that is approved, then women will be able to enter [soccer] stadiums soon," Kamranifar said without providing further details.

The arch-conservative ruling clergy class has long opposed the idea of women being allowed in stadiums with male fans.

Under FIFA pressure, Iran in October 2019 allowed about 4,000 women into Tehran's Azadi Stadium for a World Cup qualifying match against Cambodia.

But the coronavirus pandemic halted any progress on the issue as all football matches have since taken place without spectators in the stands.

Women were to be allowed in the stadium again in early October for a World Cup qualifier against South Korea, but a late decision was made to hold the event before closed door amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Should fans be allowed in stadiums again, the FFI would be required to allow admission to women, at least for World Cup qualifying matches, or face possible FIFA sanctions.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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