October 12 – Having announced that women would be allowed to attend the crucial Iran vs South Korea Qatar 2022 qualifiers, Iranian authorities appear to have staged a last-minute u-turn in banning fans from attending. It would have been the first time in two years that women would have been allowed to attend such a high-profile fixture.
Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against South Korea is to be played behind closed doors without any explanation though a ban on all fans had previously been in place because of Covid-19.
Iran currently top their final group of qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup after three games. But they are only two points ahead of second placed South Korea. A home win would extend that lead to five points and give them breathing space in the bid for the top two group places that guarantee a spot at the Qatar finals.
The latest move by the Iranian authorities came just days the state television-linked Young Journalists Club had said Iranian women would be allowed into the stadium to watch the Korea game.
The last time women were able to attend at the 80,000-seat Azadi stadium was in October 2019, when Iran thrashed Cambodia 14-0.
Women were refused access to stadia after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, officially to protect them from inappropriate male behaviour.
FIFA has exerted pressure on Iran to lift the ban on women, imposed in 1979 after Iran’s Islamic revolution supposedly to protect them from inappropriate male behaviour. However, there is apparently nothing to that effect written into law.
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