Iran women allowed into football stadium for first time in decades
Iranian women fans are free to enter a football stadium Thursday for the first time in decades after FIFA threatened to suspend the country.
FIFA last month ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without restrictions and in numbers determined by demand for tickets.
Women were quick to get their hands on tickets to attend Iran’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Cambodia at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Thursday.
The first batch sold out in under an hour, and additional seats were also snapped up in short order, state media said.
A sports ministry official said the 100,000-capacity stadium — whose name means “Freedom” in Farsi — was ready to host even more women.
One of the 3,500 women to have secured a ticket was Raha Poorbakhsh, a football journalist.
“I still can’t believe this is going to happen because after all these years of working in this field, watching everything on television, now I can experience everything in person,” she told AFP.
Poorbakhsh said she was aware of many other women without tickets and some were expected to travel from as far away as Ahvaz in southern Iran in the hope of still getting one.
Those lucky enough to attend will be segregated from men and watched over by 150 female police officers, according to Fars news agency.