Friday, December 3

Iran: parliamentary vote on women in football stadiums

The Iranian parliament should decide in a timely manner whether women in the country will be granted access to football stadiums or not. “The Football Association (FFI) has presented a draft to parliament in this regard,” said FFI Director General Hassan Kamranifar, according to media reports today. “If that is approved, then the women will soon be able to go to the football stadiums.” He did not provide any further details at the time of the decision.

In Islamic Iran, women have been banned from attending football matches in stadiums for four decades, and observers believe it is unlikely that the parliament, which is dominated by hardliners, could approve such a proposal.

Pressure from FIFA

After increasing pressure from the world association FIFA, Iran gave in in October 2019 and granted around 4,000 women access to the Asadi Stadium in Tehran at least for the World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. A few months later, however, the pandemic broke out and all football games have since had to be played in front of empty stands.

This meant that the topic of women in the stadiums was off the table for a long time. But since over 90 percent of Iranians are vaccinated against the corona virus at least once and 40 percent twice, vaccinated fans could return to the stadiums.

In that case, the FFI would have to grant access to women, at least for World Cup qualifiers. Otherwise, in the worst case, the country could face exclusion from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, as FIFA indirectly announced before the 2019 decision. Iran will play its next qualifying home game in September 2022.

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