Women are preparing to enter a soccer stadium in Iran for the first time
Tehran has lifted a ban on female supporters attending football matches and thousands of Iranian women have broken all tickets in less than an hour.
The change in the ruling comes after FIFA demanded that women could attend football matches or that Iran should undergo the suspension of the association.
The Islamic Republic forbids female spectators from football and other stadiums for about 40 years, with clergymen claiming to be protected from the male atmosphere and the vision of half-dressed men.
World government FIFA ordered Iran last month to give women access to unrestricted stadiums and in numbers determined by ticket demand.
The guideline came after a fan named & # 39; Blue Girl & # 39; died after setting herself on fire for fear of being jailed for dressing up as a boy to attend a competition.
Tehran has lifted a ban on female supporters attending football matches after pressure from FIFA. Iranian sports journalist Raha Pourbakhsh shows electronic tickets purchased on Wednesday for the Iran – Cambodia World Cup 2022 qualifying match during an interview for the Azadi stadium in Tehran on Wednesday
Iranian women are walking on Sadeqyeh Square in the capital, Tehran. After a decade-long ban, football seats are finally being opened to Iranian women. The guideline came after a fan named & # 39; Blue Girl & # 39; died after setting herself on fire for fear of being jailed for dressing up as a boy to attend a competition
Iranian sports journalist Raha Pourbakhsh can be seen while booking tickets for the World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Cambodia. An estimated 3,500 women booked tickets on Thursday, with seats sold out within an hour
Women quickly received tickets to participate in Iran & # 39; s Qualifier against Iran 2022 in Cambodia at Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Thursday.
The first game was sold out in less than an hour, and extra seats were also quickly broken down, the media said.
The sports ministry said the stadium with 100,000 capacity – whose name & # 39; Freedom & # 39; means in Farsi – was ready to receive even more women.
One of the 3,500 women who had obtained a ticket was Raha Poorbakhsh, a soccer journalist.
& # 39; I still can't believe this is going to happen, because after all these years of working in this area, watching everything on television, I can now experience everything personally & # 39 ;, she said.
But Poorbakhsh said she was aware of many other women without tickets and some were expected to travel as far away as Ahvaz in southern Iran hoping to get another one.
There have been rare occasions in recent years for Iranian women to watch competitions, but this time they were allowed to buy their own tickets, albeit a fixed number.
Those lucky enough to participate are separated from men and are guarded by 150 female police officers.
Women were previously banned from attending matches because of fears of clergymen who said they needed to be protected from the male football world and that it was not appropriate to see half-dressed men
People in the streets of Tehran said they supported the decision to admit women to stadiums.
& # 39; I wish there was freedom for women, such as men, to go free and even sit side by side without restrictions like other countries, & # 39; said a woman who gave her name only as Hasti.
Nader Fathi, who runs a clothing store, said the presence of women could improve the atmosphere in stadiums.
But he said & # 39; they will regret it & # 39; if exposed to & # 39; really bad abusive words & # 39; and & # 39; bad behavior & # 39 ;.
The bumpy road Iranian women have traveled to gain free access to stadiums has not been without tragedy.
Sahar Khodayari died last month after setting herself on fire outside a court of fear of being imprisoned for attending a competition.
Re-synchronized & # 39; blue girl & # 39; because of the colors of the club she supported – Tehran giants Esteghlal FC – she was reportedly detained last year when she tried to enter a stadium dressed as a boy.
Her death led to a protest, with many asking to ban Iran and boycott competitions.
The judiciary rejected reports that she had been told would be in prison, and Khodayari's father said she did not sacrifice herself for any reason & # 39;
In anticipation of Qatar 2022, FIFA has put pressure on Iran to allow women to attend qualifications.
But Iran denied its decision to admit women to Thursday's game due to & # 39; foreign pressure & # 39 ;.
& # 39; The presence of #women in stadiums is due to internal social requirements and government support for those requirements & # 39 ;, tweet government spokesman Ali Rabiei.
The prohibition of women in stadiums is not laid down in laws or regulations, but is strictly applied.
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, women have had rare access to stadiums in Iran.
About 20 Irish women attended a World Cup qualifier in 2001 and four years later, several dozen Iranian women saw the national team competing against Bahrain.
In October, no fewer than 100 & # 39; selected & # 39; Iranian women to a friendly match against Bolivia.
The day after, the public prosecutor warned that there would be no recurrence, and said it would lead to & # 39; s sin & # 39 ;.
In November, a select group of approximately 850 women attended a match between the Tehran rivals of Esteghlal, Persepolis FC and the Japanese antlers of Kashima.
The issue remains deeply divided in Iran.
Reformers have welcomed the newest step, but conservatives are strongly against it.
The financial newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad called it & # 39; a step to weaken a taboo and also to free Iranian football from the impending shadow of FIFA's punishment & # 39 ;.
But the extremely conservative Kayhan said daily that women were more worried about economic issues.
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