The Islamic Republic of Iran has lifted the ban on female football fans in the country, and would allow them watch the men’s upcoming World Cup qualifier in a stadium in October.
It is the first time since 1979 that the predominantly Islamic country would allow women watch men play live at any stadium.
The country’s official news agency, IRNA, quoted a Sports Ministry official as saying on Sunday, following increased pressure from FIFA.
Though foreign women are allowed to watch matches in Iran, but those from the country were banned from stadiums, when male teams are playing since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
FIFA wrote to the Iranian Football Federation in June, asking it to provide a timeline for women to be able to buy tickets for the qualifiers, or face sanctions.
“Women can go to Tehran’s Azadi stadium to watch the match between Iran’s national team and Cambodia in October, for the Qatar World Cup qualifier,” the news agency quoted deputy Sports Minister, Jamshid Taghizadeh, as saying.
The AFC, Asia’s football governing body, which has 47 members, including Iran, said on Tuesday that it was working to help FIFA find an “amicable solution” that would allow Iranian female fans to watch future games in Iran.
“There is no legal ban for women to watch football matches in the stadium. The activation of the infrastructure is underway,” Taghizadeh said.
Iranian female fans have campaigned several times over the ban, and a number of them have been occasionally allowed into stadiums.
In June, some women were detained by security forces, when they went to the Azadi Stadium for a friendly match against Syria.
Last year, some women risked arrest by wearing fake beards and wigs to attend a major game in the stadium.