After almost 40 years of being denied entry into the football stadiums, Iranian women celebrated a landmark moment when they were finally allowed inside Tehran’s Azadi Stadium to watch their team play against Spain in the 2018 World Cup.
The BBC reports that the Azadi stadium has said that “there will be no problem” for women who hope to catch a screening of their team’s match against Portugal on Monday. Social media was abuzz with pictures and selfies of the women inside the stadium and a photo of a young woman holding the national flag was also tweeted out by the Iranian football team.
ورزشگاه آزادی، هماکنون! pic.twitter.com/02j1CiBPVq
— Team Melli IRAN (@TeamMelliIran) June 20, 2018
The BBC further reports that while women in the hyper-conservative country are not officially banned from entering football stadiums, the religious leaders haven’t relaxed restrictions and this leads to women being prevented from entering by the policemen. In fact, attempts made to enter stadiums lead to punishment and women being detained.
However, even after victory seemed in sight, the women still faced an obstacle in the form of “infrastructure issues”. When the Iranian women queued up outside Azadi stadium, they found security forces guarding the entrance claiming the plan had been cancelled. The fans didn’t take this nicely and staged a sit-in and took to social media.
An hour after kick-off, however, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli gave a special order allowing fans to enter the stadium.