Iranian women will be permitted to attend a football match for the first time in two years when the men’s national team takes on South Korea in a FIFA World Cup qualifier next week.

The last time Iranian women were allowed to attend a men’s match was on October 10, 2019 for Iran’s World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. No fans have been permitted at Iranian stadiums at all for a year due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has now been confirmed that women will be able to attend the October 12 match at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, which has a capacity of 90,000. It has not been disclosed how many fans will be permitted.

“The presence of women has been authorised for the match between the national football teams of Iran and South Korea,” the state television-linked Young Journalists Club said, according to the AFP news agency.

For the Cambodia game two years ago, 3,500 tickets were sold to women, with a dedicated section at Azadi Stadium having sold out.

Iranian women had been banned from entering football stadia for men’s matches for 40 years, with foreign women only having been granted limited access. The ban was put in place after Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979.

The attendance of women at the Cambodia match came after FIFA president Gianni Infantino had urged Iranian authorities to allow female fans into football stadia. FIFA had previously written to the Iranian Football Federation informing it that there would be consequences if it did not provide a timeline for when women would be able to attend World Cup qualifiers.

Iran is FIFA’s highest ranked men’s team to be seeded for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and qualified for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

Image: Hadi Yazdi Aznaveh on Unsplash