Iran makes par­tial lift on ban on women at sports matches


Ira­nian au­thor­i­ties have par­tially lifted a ban on women at­tend­ing men’s sports matches, a se­nior sports of­fi­cial said Satur­day.

Deputy Sports Min­is­ter Ab­dol­hamid Ah­madi said Iran’s State Se­cu­rity Coun­cil has ap­proved a plan by his min­istry to al­low women and fam­i­lies to at­tend some sports events, the of­fi­cial IRNA news agency re­ported Satur­day, adding that the plan would be im­ple­mented some­time this year.

Ah­madi, how­ever, cau­tioned that not all matches or sta­di­ums would al­low women, but did not elab­o­rate. Ah­madi said only that the is­sue would, “de­pend on the type of sport.”

Women have been banned from at­tend­ing men’s sports matches since the 1979 revo­lu­tion that brought hard-line Is­lamic cler­ics to power. The idea was to pre­vent crowds of un­re­lated men and women from mix­ing pub­licly. In the past, ex­cep­tions have been granted to al­low for­eign women living in Iran to at­tend matches by their vis­it­ing na­tional teams.

The an­nounce­ment comes af­ter FIFA Pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter urged Iran last month to end the “in­tol­er­a­ble” ban on women watch­ing foot­ball in sta­di­ums.

Iran re­cently lost a bid against the United Arab Emi­rates to host the 2019 Asian Cup, with some of­fi­cials say­ing the ban on fe­male at­ten­dance played a fac­tor in the de­ci­sion.

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