Report: Iran prevented women from attending a football match

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran barred women from attending the country’s final 2022 World Cup soccer qualifier on Tuesday, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

ISNA said 12,500 tickets had been sold online, of which 2,000 were reserved for women. Iran beat Lebanon 2-0 in the game. A victory in January over Iraq secured the team a place in the World Cup in Qatar.

A video circulating on social media shows hundreds of football fans chanting “we have an objection” in response to the decision to ban them from attending the game in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

It was not immediately clear who made the decision to prevent women from attending the match.

Khabaronline, an Iranian news site, said that “despite ticket sales, women are still not allowed to go to the stadium”.

FIFA has long called on Iran to ensure that women will be allowed to attend the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Women have mostly been banned from attending men’s games and other sporting events in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Ahmad Alamolhoda, head of Friday prayers in Mashhad, who was appointed by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said he was always opposed to the presence of women as spectators in sports competitions masculine. He called their presence “vulgarity”.

Team captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh, in a post-match interview, said it would be great to see women in the stadiums in the future as they also like to see the national team, known as the “TeamMelli”, win.

In January, more than 2,000 female spectators were at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran when the national team beat Iraq by one goal to become the first team from the Asian group to qualify for the World Cup. It was the second major football event that Iranian women watched in the stadium.

In 2019 and for the first time in decades, for the Asian Champions League final, hundreds of Iranian women were allowed to watch Persepolis take on Japan’s Kashima Antlers in Tehran.

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