Women attend Tehran football match in historic first

Women attend Tehran football match in historic first
Iranian women were allowed to watch a football match on Tuesday for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
2 min read
18 Oct, 2018
Women football fans outside Azadi Stadium in Tehran [Getty]
A rare and historic event took place at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Tuesday night.

For the first time in almost 40 years, the first time since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, women were allowed to watch Team Melli, the Iran's male national team, from inside the stadium itself.

While Carlos Queiroz and his players played against Bolivia and won 2-1, thanks to goals from Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Mehdi Torabi, around 300 female fans were in the stands. Some were family and friends of players and officials, and they were joined by players and coaches from the Iranian national women's team, as well as other female fans.

It was a remarkable benchmark after years of struggle by Iranian women to enter football stadiums in Iran. In league games there are women who dress as men in attempts to enter the stadiums, while a famous movie has been made about the campaign - Offside - by the director Jafar Panahi.

This is an important step in towards the full integration of female fans in Iranian football, and the signs are positive. Hossien Mahini, the Persepolis captain, tweeted after the match: "Hope one day half of Azadi stadium will be yours."

Iran is among the remaining few countries in the region to officially prohibit women from attending football games by law. A night like this has a key role in changing realities for millions of women in the country.

Uri Levy runs the popular football blog BabaGol, which covers football and politics focusing on the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter, and read his blog here