Official: Iran to allow women watch football matches at stadiums

Mehdi Taj, head of the Iranian Football Federation, has renewed the promise of allowing women into stadiums. This time, he says he has approval from the Supreme National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Taj assured women’s entry to stadiums in a recent interview with Radio Sport of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He announced the approval by the Supreme National Security Council, with a dedicated task force assigned to oversee its implementation. The Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Sports and Youth, the Football Federation and two intelligence agencies are actively planning the process of facilitating women’s access.

Despite repeated promises, the issue of women’s presence in football stadiums remains unresolved. The obligation imposed by FIFA, football’s world governing body, falls on the authorities of the Islamic Republic, yet Iranian officials have consistently downplayed the matter. Over the past several years, women have been granted limited access to stadiums only on a few occasions during national competitions.

While Taj has made repeated promises, this is the first time it has been mentioned that the Supreme National Security Council has endorsed the presence of women. The council serves as a government entity within Iran, with its security decisions gaining executive authority after approval by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic.

The secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council has yet to respond to Taj’s statement. Even if the council were to grant its approval, it would still require confirmation from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In another segment of his speech, Taj addressed the stadiums where women will be granted access and said, “The presence of women is no longer up for debate. Women will be present in stadiums such as Gol Gohar, Sepahan, Zob Ahan and Ghadir Ahvaz, which are deemed suitable. Azadi Stadium should also make necessary preparations.”

In previous years, when women came to watch national and club matches, Azadi Stadium played host to them, and it was often cited as the sole stadium in Iran equipped to accommodate women’s presence. The sudden change raises questions about what might have transpired in recent months to render Azadi Stadium unprepared to host women at the current time.

Via news