Thousands of Iranian women attended a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Tehran to watch Iran vs Cambodia, which ended 14-0 on Thursday. This certainly made history as it was the first time in 40 years in the history of Iran when women were allowed to enter a sports stadium to watch a men's football match.
Women were banned from watching men's games in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran was the last remaining nation barring women from football games after Saudi Arabia had changed its stance on the issue recently. But recently there was pressure put on Iranian authorities by FIFA for their stadium restrictions. Things escalated further following the death of Sahar Khodayari aka 'Blue Girl', who set herself on fire last month to protest against her arrest as she was trying to get into the stadium for watching a match. Her death sparked a massive buzz all around the world with many calling for Iran to be banned and their matches boycotted.
Under such immense pressure, the Iran authorities have finally complied; by allowing women to only international matches so far. They had to sit separately from the men in what practically appeared to be an empty stadium that included 4000 allocated seats to women and a few thousand men present in a stadium that has a capacity of 80,000. But it was still a momentous feat as over 3,000 women watched from a special women-only section in Tehran's Azadi Stadium. Women sporting green and red to support their home nation witnessed their side beat Cambodia rather comfortably with star striker Sardar Azmoun netting a hat-trick.
FIFA President’s statement on today’s match in Tehran: https://t.co/lyY29cD6Lk— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) October 10, 2019
FIFA President Gianni Infantino released a statement in which he thanked both the Iran FA and the AFC for their efforts and co-operation. He promised that FIFA will continue to work closely with them to help ensure that all fans, irrespective of gender, have the chance to go to stadiums and enjoy a game of football. He thanked all the Iranian girls and women who are courageously standing up for their rights and has promised them full support in their endeavour.