FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated that the organization is looking forward to the moment when all Iranian women will be able to attend football matches freely, the FIFA press service quotes him as saying, APA reports citing TASS.
On Thursday, about 3,500 women have attended the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match between Iran and Cambodia that took place on Thursday in Tehran. The game ended with a crushing victory of the Iranian team with the score of 14:0.
"For the first time in nearly 40 years, several thousand women have been allowed into a stadium in IR Iran to watch a football match played by men," the statement by the FIFA president says. "This is a very positive step forward, and one which FIFA, and especially Iranian girls and women, have been eagerly waiting for. The passion, joy and enthusiasm they showed today was remarkable to see and encourages us even more to continue the path we have started. History teaches us that progress comes in stages and this is just the beginning of a journey."
"Consequently, FIFA now looks more than ever towards a future when ALL girls and women wishing to attend football matches in IR Iran will be free to do so, and in a safe environment," Infantino stressed.
"I would like to thank both the IR Iran FA (Football Association - TASS), the AFC (Asian Football Confederation - TASS) and the authorities involved for their efforts and cooperation," he continued. "FIFA will continue to work closely with them, to help ensure that the right thing is done, which is to allow all fans, irrespective of gender, to have the chance to go to the stadiums and enjoy a game of football."
So far, Iran is leading in Group C of World Cup qualifications with six points scored in two rounds, followed by Bahrain with four points. Cambodia is placed last with one point after three games. In the next qualifier, Iran will face Bahrain on October 15.
Women in Iran were banned from attending male sports events after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. In October of last year, 100 women were allowed to attend a friendly game between Iran and Bolivia, and in November, around 500 female fans went to the Asian Champions League final between FC Persepolis (Iran) and FC Kashima Antlers (Japan).
In June 2019, AP reported that FIFA President Gianni Infantino had demanded that Iranian Football Federation and the Iranian government provide guarantees that women will be allowed to attend 2022 FIFA World Cup games in Qatar.