According to the announcement made by Mehdi Taj, who are President of the Iran Football Federation, the ban on women’s entry into football stadiums has been lifted with the approval of the National Security High Council.
This development has sparked debates and criticisms in Iran, which is one of the most conservative countries in terms of human rights and women’s rights.
With this announcement, women will now have the right to watch football matches inside stadiums.
Permission granted, but implementation details are unknown
According to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Mehdi Taj stated that the National Security High Council has granted permission for women to enter football stadiums. However, the manner and details of implementing this permission have not been determined yet. Taj mentioned that they have formed a working group with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to determine how this decision will be implemented in stadiums.
Restrictions on women attending football matches have been in place in Iran for a long time. Although exceptions have been made for national matches from time to time, women have not been allowed to enter stadiums for Super League matches.
“The Blue Girl” had an impact.
Most recently, during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers match between Iran and Lebanon in Mashhad in March 2022, women were not allowed to enter the stadium to watch the match.
It is stated that the decision to lift the ban was influenced by the suicide of Seher Hudayari, also known as the “Blue Girl,” due to her attempt to enter the stadium to watch a football match. Her tragic act served as a protest against the ban and created a significant impact on Iranian society and the international community.
Who is Seher Hudayari?
Seher Hudayari, also known as the “Blue Girl,” was born in 1990 in Selm and died on September 9, 2019, in Tehran. On September 2, 2019, she set herself on fire in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. She was protesting against the six-month prison sentence she received for attempting to enter the stadium to watch a football match. She died a week after her injuries. Hudayari’s self-immolation sparked intense debates about the restrictions imposed on women in Iran.
FIFA applied pressure
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) had previously called on the Iranian authorities to allow women’s entry into stadiums and warned that Iran could face international sanctions if they failed to comply. FIFA’s stance was seen as a pressure tool for change in Iran and eventually yielded results.
Limited access for women to football stadiums has faced criticism and pressure from the international community. The international community and human rights advocates have emphasized the need for Iran to end gender discrimination in football. FIFA’s call for change played a significant role in bringing about this positive development.
Iran, a country known for executions
Iran frequently comes to the forefront with its executions. Criticisms of the Islamic and Sharia system of governance, as well as various other crimes, lead to death sentences for its citizens. Being an atheist or an LGBT individual can also be a reason for execution in Iran, and political executions take place prominently. Political opposition and Kurds are among the most executed groups in the country.
Women marginalized in Iran
Iran has been the subject of numerous human rights violations. Most recently, the killing of Kurdish girl Mahsa Emini by Iranian police for not wearing a headscarf sparked nationwide protests.
During the protests following the killing of Mahsa Emini, the journalist who reported her death was arrested, and a series of demonstrations called the Mahsa protests, led by women, began in Iran. In the course of these protests, Iranian police killed many women and young men in an attempt to suppress the demonstrations.