American Football

Iranian women finally allowed to officially watch soccer match after 40 years

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Iran's ban on women attending sports stadiums is not written into law but was put in place shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.But following pressure from human rights group and the sport's world governing body FIFA, Iran agreed to permit women to enter the stadium.The initial allocation of 3,500 tickets for female fans was quickly sold out — reportedly in under an hour — before an additional 1,100 were released for the World Cup qualifier."This is a very positive step forward, and one which FIFA, and especially Iranian girls and women, have been eagerly waiting for," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino."The passion, joy and enthusiasm they showed today was remarkable to see and encourages us even more to continue the path we have started. History teaches us that progress comes in stages and this is just the beginning of a journey."Consequently, FIFA now looks more than ever towards a future when all girls and women wishing to attend football matches in Iran will be free to do so, and in a safe environment. There can be no stopping or turning back now."Inside the stadium, those present were treated to 14 unanswered goals by the home team as it made light work of 169th ranked Cambodia.An Iranian woman cheers during the World Cup qualification match between Iran and Cambodia at the Azadi stadium in the capital Tehran on October 10, 2019.Karim Ansarifard scored four and Zenit St. Petersburg striker Sardar Azmoun netted a hat-trick in a game that Iran led 7-0 at the interval.Cambodia's misery was compounded by a second-half penalty miss against its 23rd ranked host.An Iranian woman wearing her country's national colours arrives at the Azadi stadium.READ: Iranian women allowed to enter stadium for World Cup clashREAD: FIFA 'assured' women can attend soccer matches

'Discriminatory, deceptive, dangerous'

While Thursday's game marks a step forward for Iranian women watching football matches, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called the cap of 4,600 female fans "discriminatory, deceptive, and dangerous."Iranian women cheer during the World Cup qualification match between Iran and Cambodia at the Azadi stadium in the capital Tehran."The effective 5% quota on seats for women contravenes FIFA's constitution, statutes, and its human rights policy," the organization said."Article 4 of its statutes states that discrimination against women 'is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion' of the FIFA member.'"When asked if these conditions truly meet its statutes that prohibit gender discrimination, FIFA told CNN: "FIFA's stance on the access of women to the stadiums in Iran has been firm and clear: women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. For all football matches.Female football fans show their support ahead of the World Cup Qualifier between Iran and Cambodia at Azadi Stadium on October 10, 2019."In line with our stance, we are working to ensure the safe access of women to tomorrow's FIFA World Cup qualifier between Iran and Cambodia. We reaffirm our position that the number of women in the stadium needs to be determined by the demand for such tickets, without any arbitrary limitation being imposed."Further details on the next steps to be implemented to ensure the future access of women to the stadiums in Iran will follow once we have performed a thorough assessment of Read More – Source