Iran women freely at FIFA soccer match, 1st time in decades

The Associated Press

Tehran, Iran – Iranian women have just watched a FIFA soccer match kickoff after being freely allowed into a stadium for the first time in decades.

Iran faces Cambodia in the 2022 World Cup qualifier being held Thursday at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.

Iranian women cheer as they arrive to the Azadi Stadium to watch the 2022 World Cup qualifier soccer match between Iran and Cambodia, in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. Iranian women were freely allowed into the stadium for the first time in decades. They had been banned since 1981.

But the match has taken on even greater importance after Iran, facing pressure from the world soccer body, allocated 4,000 tickets for women. They had been banned since 1981.

Authorities provided special security and female police officers for the match.

The decision follows the death of a young woman who set herself on fire after hearing she could face prison time for sneaking into an Iranian soccer match disguised as a man.

Iran is the world’s last nation to bar women from soccer matches. Saudi Arabia recently began allowing women into soccer matches.

Iranian women wear their country's flag on their shoulders at the Azadi Stadium for the 2022 World Cup qualifier soccer match between Iran and Cambodia, in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.