Iran Bars Women From Entering Sports Arena Once Again

On March 29, a stadium in Iran barred women from getting in during a game. Security guards of the Imam Reza Stadium in Mashhad, Iran, denied women who paid for their tickets access to the stadium.

A tweet by Radio Farda, the Iranian arm of Radio Free Europe, showed hundreds of women protesting for access to the stadium. Some women can be seen holding up what appears to be a copy of their ticket.

According to France24, Iran Student News Agency reported more than 2,000 Iranian women were denied access to the stadium. The women had “bought tickets for the Iran-Lebanon match, were present in the perimeter of Imam Reza stadium, but could not enter the stadium,” the report added.

No reports from Iran’s local news channels showed any statement from the stadium’s administrator explaining the incident. France24 added that “women have been barred from attending soccer matches since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.”

Despite FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) pressuring the Iranian government to allow women in stadiums, the incident happened. In 2019, Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president, called Iran’s practice unacceptable and asked Iran to allow women into stadiums. He added that the global soccer organization expects positive developments in the matter.

In an effort to secure Iran’s entry into the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Iran allowed 2000 women to watch a game in the Azadi stadium back in January. Mehdi Taremi, Iran’s famous striker, said he was glad women fans were allowed into the stadium.

However, Iran quickly backtracked on its efforts, especially in Mashad. The Islamic country’s archaic discrimination against women has caused a fan to set herself on fire as a protest in 2019.

According to Iran International, Mashad has numerous extremely conservative Muslim clerics who are influential in barring women from “male-dominated places.”

Earlier this month, Ahmad Alamolhoda, the father-in-law of Iran’s current president, Ebrahim Raisi, and a hardline conservative, released a statement urging the public to confront women wearing hijabs improperly. “If a woman in the street removes her headscarf, she must face the people's complaints to see that she has no place,” Alamolhoda said.

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