Iran football head says women can attend football league matches

Football is Iran’s most popular spectator sport, with wrestling and volleyball not far behind.

Tehran: For women in Iran witnessing a soccer match is among the rareest things but now with the announcement made by the head of the Football Federation, they will be allowed into stadiums during the upcoming season, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Head of the Iranian Football Federation Mehdi Taj said that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has decided to let women watch football matches by attending the stadiums.

“Women will be able to visit stadiums, and the Supreme National Security Council has made such a decision” Taj said on Friday.

MS Education Academy

He added that a working group responsible for the implementation of the project has been appointed, reported IRNA.

Taj concluded that the Interior Ministry, Sports and Youth Policy Ministry, the football federation and two institutions of the Ministry of Information are developing a plan for implementing the job.

Soccer is Iran’s most popular spectator sport, with wrestling and volleyball not far behind. Team Melli, which literally means “the nation’s team,” enjoys tremendous support. But ever since the revolution, women have been outlawed from watching those sports in person or in public places such as restaurants, according to Washington Post.

To view the match, sometimes, women have disguised themselves as men, with fake beards and moustaches. Those who succeed have been cheered on as national trailblazers.

In 2006, for the first time, women were allowed to watch the match when Iran’s president tried to restore one small piece of the civil liberties the Islamic Republic had repressed since its 1979 revolution, reported Washington Post.

Then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rescinded the decades-old ban on female spectators at men’s soccer matches. Iran’s religious leaders had argued that allowing women to see men play sports violated Muslim laws promoting piety. Ahmadinejad disagreed.

“The best stands should be allocated to women and families in the stadiums in which national and important matches are being held,” he said on state television. “The presence of women and families in public places promotes chastity.”

The occasion was a friendly against Bolivia at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, Washington Post reported.

(Except for the headline, the story has not been edited by Siasat staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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