Iranian women entered the country’s national stadium in Tehran on Thursday after being able to purchase tickets for national team game for the first time in 40 years.
Women had been banned from watching men’s games since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution, with only a few exceptions made for small groups on rare occasions.
But under pressure from world governing body FIFA and women’s rights campaigners, Iranian authorities earmarked around 3,000 tickets for women to attend Thursday’s 14-0
World Cup Asian qualifier win against Cambodia in the 78,000-seat Azadi Stadium.
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The tickets were for a special women’s-only section of the stadium, a decision that had been criticised by some campaigners who would prefer women to be able to attend
with their male family members.
Footage posted on social media showed women arriving at the stadium more than two hours before the scheduled kickoff
time. The women waved flags and blew “vuvuzela” horns while the rest of the stadium was still mostly empty.
FIFA released a statement following the match saying it was “encouraged” by the historic day.
But while women’s rights activists have welcomed the access granted for Thursday’s game, it is unclear whether such scenes will become the norm in Iran, with the domestic league restarting Oct 21
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged Iranian authorities to open up stadiums to women for all games, not just World Cup
The sport’s governing body has sent officials to Tehran to monitor access for women at the match and said it will
continue to press for their inclusion.