Iranian women have been striving to achieve their right to watch live soccer matches, however, the Iranian regime bans women from entering soccer stadiums.

On March 29, many women and girls were banned from the Lebanon and Iran match that took place in the Imam Reza Stadium in Mashhad, northeastern Iran.

They were attacked and sprayed with pepper gas instead of being allowed into the stadium with the tickets they had paid for. This is while they had legally purchased tickets to watch the soccer match.

Under FIFA and AFC rules, sports officials have no right to prevent women from entering the stadium. The soccer match between the national teams of Iran and Lebanon was held on the evening of Tuesday, March 29, 2022. This sports match was one of Qatar’s qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, which ended in a 2-0 victory for Iran.

The soccer match was in the northeastern religious hub of Mashhad on Tuesday. Iran defeated Lebanon, but there were no celebrations, and instead, a large number of women – who were promised seats at the stadium – protested at the gates. Many videos went viral on social media in which women were seen struggling after they were pepper-sprayed by the security officials.

According to official data cited in foreign media reports, some 2,000 women from 12,000 spectators bought the ticket to the match. Still, they were kept out of the stadium deliberately.

According to the state-run ISNA news agency, 12,500 tickets were sold online, 2,000 earmarked for women.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women have been largely barred from attending men’s games and other sporting activities in Iran. Earlier, on October 12, 2021, a soccer match between the teams of Iran and North Korea was held at Azadi Stadium without any spectators. To prevent women’s entry into the stadium, the regime banned all spectators from entering Azadi Stadium using Covid-19 as an excuse.

Friday prayer leader in Mashhad Ahmad Alamolhoda, a merciless hardliner appointed by the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated he has always opposed women seeing males compete in sports. He referred to the women’s presence in sporting events as “vulgarity.”

One woman, speaking to the regime’s Fars News Agency outside the stadium, said: “They said that women could get tickets and enter the stadium. We were on the website yesterday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. so we could get tickets. All the ladies who are here have tickets. We took leave from work, we spent a lot of money, but now they are saying women can’t enter.”

“If women are not allowed to enter the stadium, why did they sell us tickets?” asked another woman.

In a statement Wednesday, the soccer federation of the Islamic Republic blamed time constraints for failing to properly organize ticket sales and organizing women’s presence at the Imam Reza Stadium in the religious city of Mashhad and argued that federation officials had not “invited” women to purchase tickets to watch the game. Many Iranians on social media have slammed the federation for suggesting that women should have been “invited” to watch the game by the federation authorities, but men could do so without being granted special permission. “This statement is clear evidence of gender discrimination,” a tweet by an Iran journalist who also called for a FIFA ban on Iran’s soccer federation said.

Without offering any apologies, the federation also said that there had been no plans to allow spectators to watch the game at until 72 hours before the game and claimed that the tickets held by women had been sold by “ticket forgers” or the women who purchase tickets online had lied about their gender. “Only nine women had purchased tickets for the men’s section of the stadium who will be refunded within 48 hours,” the statement said. One may ask how the women bought fake tickets from the federation’s website or why there was not even a single fake ticket among the men’s tickets that they went to the gym easily and only women could not go because they had fake tickets.

Iran’s state media which are controlled by hardliners completely ignored the news about the incident in Mashhad. Iran’s state-run TV, IRIB, did not report the attack on women and even censored a remark by Alireza Jahanbakhsh, one of the players for Iran’s national team, who, after the game, said in an interview that he hoped women could watch the team’s games at stadiums in the future.

Almost all the officials in charge, both in the parliament and in the government and the judiciary, everyone is from the same political spectrum and is opposed to women entering the stadium. However, the treatment of women in Mashhad was such that, for the first time in a country’s history, after a soccer match, the president, the attorney general, and the speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly simultaneously criticized the situation. Experience has shown that in such cases, no one takes responsibility, and no one reveals who issued the main order behind the scenes. This only shows the severity of the issue and the embarrassment it has created for the regime, both in the country and abroad. It is worth noting that Iran’s notorious president, Ebrahim Raisi, known as the Butcher of the 1988 Massacre, did not take a stand against his father-in-law, Ahmad Alamolhoda. For this reason, without naming him, he instructed the interior minister to “examine the margins created.”

In another revelation about preventing women from entering the stadium, in a press conference, Mohsen Davari, the governor of Mashhad, said: “All decisions were national decisions, and we decided with national opinion for all areas, and no one in the province made a decision in this regard, and everything was dictated by the officials to us.”

The International Football Federation (FIFA) has issued a statement stating that “we have received alarming news that women were not allowed to play in Mashhad yesterday” and “we have asked the Iranian Football Federation to provide explanations in this regard and give more information. “The World Football Federation (FIFA) must stand by Iranian women under international standards and respect women’s rights in this field. FIFA should boycott the Iranian regime to prevent women from entering the stadium.

This is one of the most painful images of Iran’s contemporary history, and it is unbelievable that women would want to be treated as people in their own country and want to see their national soccer team up close, are treated with such a level of disrespect and humiliation.

The fact is that what happened in Mashhad Stadium is the savagery of a medieval misogynist dictatorship that considers women second-class citizens, and deprives them of their basic political, social, and economic rights. One thing is undeniable and indisputable: the women of Iran have proven to be the scariest nightmare of this regime, and soon their might and determination will suffocate this regime to its collapse.

Source » irannewswire