Iran’s Sports Minister, Masoud Soltanifar, on Thursday reported that Iranian women will be allowed into stadiums to watch the men’s national team play football.
Soltanifar wrote in a statement “All necessary preparations have been made so that women, initially however only for international games, can come into the football stadiums.
“At the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, where Iran play most of their matches and are due to host World Cup qualifiers from next month, separate entrances, stands and toilets have been prepared’’.
Soltanifar said there will also be extra police to ensure women can enter and leave the stadium safely.
Women had been banned from attending football matches in Iran for four decades.
A woman recently died after setting herself on fire in protest at being given a jail term for attempting to watch a club match.
Iranian President Hassan Rowhani is reportedly in favour of lifting the ban but has been unable to prevail against the wishes of Iran’s powerful clergy, which believes a stadium atmosphere is unsuitable for women.
However, the ban violates the statutes of football governing body FIFA meaning Iran could be threatened with sanctions.
The sanctions may include effectively being kicked out of the 2022 World Cup, if the ban remains in place.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said “I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation.
“Our position is clear and firm.
“Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran.
“We understand there are steps and processes that need to be taken before this is done in a proper and safe way but now is the moment to change things.
“FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October’’.
Iran host Cambodia on Oct. 10 to continue qualifying for Qatar 2022.