Iran’s Sports Minister, Masoud Soltanifar, on Thursday reported that Iranian women will be allowed into stadiums to watch the men’s national team play football.
Soltanifar wrote in a statement “All necessary preparations have been made so that women, initially however only for international games, can come into the football stadiums.
“At the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, where Iran play most of their matches and are due to host World Cup qualifiers from next month, separate entrances, stands and toilets have been prepared’’. Soltanifar said there will also be extra police to ensure women can enter and leave the stadium safely.
Women had been banned from attending football matches in Iran for four decades.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is reportedly in favour of lifting the ban but has been unable to prevail against the wishes of Iran’s powerful clergy, which believes a stadium atmosphere is unsuitable for women.
However, the ban violates the statutes of football governing body FIFA meaning Iran could be threatened with sanctions. The sanctions may include effectively being kicked out of the 2022 World Cup, if the ban remains in place.