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Iran will allow women to attend football team matches

September 19, 2019

TEHERAN, Sep. 19 (DPA / EP) –

The Iranian government will allow women to enter football stadiums to watch matches of the men's soccer team, Sports Minister Masoud Soltanifar announced Thursday after the resurgence of the debate on gender discrimination in sporting events.

“All the necessary preparations have been made so that women … can enter soccer fields,” explained Soltanifar, who has “initially” limited the scope of this measure to the national team matches.

The authorities have enabled entrances, toilets and separate areas for women at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, where Iran plays most of its matches and where qualifying matches for the next World Cup will be held in October.

The minister has also confirmed that there will be an additional deployment of police officers so that women can safely enter and leave the premises.

The president of Iran, Hasán Rohani, has been in favor of lifting the discrimination of access to women in force since the Islamic Revolution four decades ago, but the conservative dome has slowed any progress in recent years.

A woman died recently after catching fire in protest for having been convicted after trying to witness a party, which has revived the debate. FIFA has even threatened to sanction Iran, even expelling it from the next World Cup, if the discrimination is still in force.