Iranian women in stadium to watch Russia football friendly

Iran on Thursday admitted female football supporters into a stadium for a national team match for the first time in more than a year.

At the Tehran capital’s Azadi Stadium during the match versus Russia, hundreds of ladies supported the home team.

The Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, died in detention in September after being arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s clothing code for women. Her death in custody sparked months-long protests, which were the catalyst for the match.

Hundreds of people were killed, including dozens of security personnel, and hundreds were jailed for taking part in what Iranian officials claimed as “riots” fomented by the United States and its allies.

In March last year, even though women were allowed to buy tickets for a World Cup qualifier against Lebanon, they were denied admission to Imam Reza stadium in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

However, Iran was given a directive by FIFA, the world football’s governing body, in September 2019 to let women into stadiums without any restrictions and in a number that would be determined by the demand for tickets.

The FIFA directive, threatening Iran’s suspension from competitions, came after a fan died having set herself on fire in fear of being jailed. She had tried to attend a match in disguise.

Thursday’s game is also notable as Russia’s national team has been suspended by FIFA and UEFA from all competitions since February 2022 for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tehran has built strong connections with Moscow in numerous sectors including the military in the past year.


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