Iran women allowed into football stadium for first time in decades

Iranian sports journalist Raha Pourbakhsh shows purchased electronic tickets for the Iran - Cambodia World Cup 2022 qualifier match during an interview with AFP in front of Azadi stadium in the capital Tehran on October 8. — AFP

Iranian women fans are free to enter a football stadium on Thursday for the first time in decades, after FIFA threatened to suspend the Islamic republic over its controversial male-only policy.

Iran has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums for around 40 years, with clerics arguing they must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men.

World football’s governing body FIFA last month ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without restrictions and in numbers determined by demand for tickets.

The directive came after a fan dubbed “Blue Girl” died after setting herself on fire in fear of being jailed for dressing up as a boy in order to attend a match.

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