Sports

Federation Internationale de Football Association will 'stand firm' on Iranian women's access to all matches

Federation Internationale de Football Association will 'stand firm' on Iranian women's access to all matches

Federation Internationale de Football Association had piled fresh pressure on the nation to start allowing women into matches after Sahar Khodayari, 30, set herself on fire last month after facing charges for attempting to enter a stadium.

Iran has barred women from spectating at games on the back of clerics claiming they should be protected from the masculine atmosphere and sight of males in shorts.

Iran's World Cup qualifying match against Cambodia this Thursday wouldn't normally be of much interest to anybody beyond the two countries involved.

Last month, Federation Internationale de Football Association finally ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without any restrictions and in numbers determined by demand for tickets.

In this file photo from June 25, 2018, Iranian women watch the World Cup Group B soccer match between Portugal and Iran at Azadi stadium in Tehran.

Thousands of Iranian girls fans are to help a soccer match freely Thursday for the first time in a total lot of years, after Federation Internationale de Football Association threatened to droop the nation over its controversial male-handiest coverage.

Iranian women have previously only been allowed to attend select matches, and under very strict rules.

"I still can't believe it's happening because after all these years watching every match on TV, I'm going to be able to experience everything in person", she said.

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In 2016, "60 Minutes" traveled to Iran to interview Iranian-American Katayoun Khosrowyar, who was then a coach for the girls' national team, and visited Azadi Stadium with her. She told news service AFP that she last stepped into Azadi stadium about 25 years ago with her father. The organization's leader, who goes by the pseudonym Sara, told Reuters that numerous women who bought tickets to Thursday's match aren't actually soccer fans.

The lifting of the stadium ban only applies to World Cup qualifying matches and not to games in the Iranian championship or the Asian Champions League.

Amnesty has accused Iran of staging a "cynical publicity stunt" by allowing a "token" 3,500 women into Thursday's worldwide against Cambodia following a global outcry over a campaigner's death.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have only had rare access to stadiums in Iran.

The reformist camp has welcomed the decision to allow women into Thursday's match, while conservatives have argued that football is not a priority for women.

In October, as many as 100 "handpicked" Iranian women watched a friendly against Bolivia.

The issue continues to be deeply divisive in Iran.