Authorities of the Islamic Republic in northern Mazandaran have banned women from football stadiums after a male fan insulted female spectators in Tehran.

After Iranian media published a picture of an elderly man wearing a headscarf adorned with a religious slogan at Azadi Stadium in Tehran, where he insulted and threatened women present, a security committee in Mazandaran Province decided to ban women spectators in the city’s stadiums.

Fars news agency, affiliated with the IRGC, stated that Watani Stadium would not admit any women until the season’s end for Nasaji FC matches.

This media outlet viewed the ban on women at Watani Stadium as a request from the Provincial Security Council.

Simultaneously, Iranian media have reported on the “incremental exclusion of women from stadiums by extremists” and “the systematic process of once again banning women’s presence in stadiums.”

An informed source within the football federation also told IranWire that the federation is anticipating a potential response from FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation.

This reliable source revealed to IranWire: “Plans to prohibit women’s entry started at the end of March and were intended to gradually shut the stadium doors to women again in the final weeks of the Premier League.”

The source believes that preparations have been made to quietly exclude women from stadiums until the season’s conclusion, making it improbable for Iranian women to attend any stadium in the next Premier League season, except for one in Tehran.

For more than four decades, Iran’s clerical establishment has opposed the idea of women being allowed in stadiums with male fans, and only a restricted number of them have been allowed to attend a few games in recent years.

There has been minimal progress on the issue since calls were made last year for FIFA to ban Iran from the World Cup in Qatar because of the continued exclusion of women from football matches.

These calls came against the backdrop of women-led nationwide protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was in police custody for allegedly wearing her mandatory headscarf improperly.

Javan newspaper, affiliated with the IRGC, and Keyhan newspaper, affiliated with the leader of the Islamic Republic, on Sunday, in similar notes, deemed the presence of women in Iran’s stadiums as “inappropriate.”

In its critique, Javan once again highlighted the absence of necessary technical and cultural infrastructure, emphasizing that Kioumars Hashemi, the Minister of Sports and Youth, should not overlook the issue of women’s stadium access until adequate facilities are provided.

However, as anticipated, Kayhan newspaper’s criticism was more severe and imprudent.

In an editorial, the newspaper dismissed Iranian women’s desire to attend sports venues as a “false aspiration,” asserting that Iranian women “should not believe that success and dignity for a woman lie in emulating men in behavior and attire.”

By piecing together the reactions from government and security agencies, as well as newspapers, alongside the events unfolding since April regarding Iranian women in stadiums, Etemat newspaper unveiled a “new initiative” aimed at restricting stadium access.

This publication covered incidents such as the “330 million tomans fine and the ban on Hossein Hosseini for hugging a teenage fan,” “the resistance of extremist factions and security institutions in Tabriz against allowing Tabriz women back into the stadium,” and “the presence of a former Sepahan FC club fan who labelled gender chants against women” as evidence of a concerted effort to once again exclude women from stadiums.

According to a source within the football federation, the federation holds no authority in determining the entry or prohibition of women into stadiums.

Instead, it is tasked with facilitating communication between FIFA and various security and governmental bodies in the coming days.

In recent months, female Tractor FC fans were only granted access to the team’s home stadium once, with subsequent entries barred by decisions from provincial security institutions.

Source » iranwire