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Iranian women in stadium after 40 years




Iranian women, on Thursday, entered the Azadi Stadium in Tehran to watch men’s football for the first time in almost 40 years as their country hosts Cambodia in a World Cup qualifier.

According to media reports, between 3,500 to 4,000 women were able to buy tickets which sold out quickly.

They entered special blocks at the stadium for the match which had female only police and doctors in attendance.

Many fans turned up hours before kick-off making victory signals and waving national flags.

Women have generally been banned from attending games in the country since the Islamic revolution by the ultra-conservative clergy despite many in the political class pushing for change.

Some have attempted to enter stadiums wearing fake beards to try to circumvent the ban.

In September,a woman died after setting herself  on fire having been given a prison term for trying to violate the ban.

World football’s governing body FIFA will see the partial lifting of the ban as a major victory.

President Gianni Infantino had threatened to exclude Iran from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar if women continued to be banned from stadiums for men’s internationals.

The lifting of the stadium ban only applies to World Cup qualifying matches and not to games in the Iranian championship or the Asian Champions League.

And some restrictions were still in place at the Azadi Stadium on Thursday, with women being refused press accreditations to work as photographers, despite the Ministry of Sport promising this would happen.

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