Let Women Enter Stadiums, FIFA Urges Iran After Woman Fan Dies

A FIFA delegation visited Tehran on Friday to discuss allowing female spectators into football matches, the official news agency IRNA reported, days after a public row over a female fan who killed herself.

"The FIFA delegation first visited the sports ministry and talked to officials and the football federation on the presence of women in (Tehran's) Azadi stadium," IRNA said.

It said federation officials told the visiting team that preparations have been made for women to attend football matches and that they would “officially” be allowed to enter the stadium for the 10 October Iran-Cambodia game.

"The delegation then visited the stadium and inspected entry gates and stands set up for women," the agency added.

The Islamic republic has barred female spectators from football and other stadiums since 1981, with clerics arguing they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere and the sight of semi-clad men.

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Sahar Khodayari, dubbed “blue girl” because of the colours of the team she supported, Esteghlal FC, was reportedly detained last year when trying to enter a stadium dressed as a man to watch them.

She died of her injuries in a Tehran hospital after setting herself on fire outside a court in early September.

The death of Khodayari sparked an outcry online, with many calling on world football's governing body FIFA to ban Iran from international competitions and for fans to boycott matches.

Iran subsequently came under pressure from FIFA to allow women to attend qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, and it was reportedly given a deadline of 31 August to comply.

Iran's sports ministry said last month that women fans would be allowed into the stadium when Team Melli -- as the national team are known -- play their next home qualifier.

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