Thousands of Iranian women cheered, blew horns and celebrated inside a Tehran stadium on Thursday as they watched the first FIFA soccer match they’ve been allowed to freely attend in decades,
Women have effectively been banned from stadiums when men are playing since just after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The change followed the death of a fan who had set herself alight after being arrested for trying to attend a match.
But Amnesty International described the move on Thursday as a “cynical publicity stunt”.
The non-governmental organisation said there were only a “token number” of tickets for female fans as it called for all restrictions on female attendance to be lifted.
More than 3,500 women bought tickets to Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Cambodia, where they were granted access to a special women’s-only section of the Azadi Stadium.
The stadium has a capacity of about 78,000.
The tickets for women reportedly sold out within minutes.
A clip from inside the stadium showed female football fans excitedly waiving Iranian flags and cheering on their team.
watch the video…
EXCITEMENT AND JOY AS WOMEN ENTER #IRAN’S AZADI STADIUM TO WATCH A FOOTBALL MATCH. THEY’VE BEEN BANNED FROM PURCHASING TICKETS FOR THE PAST 38 YEARS AND HAVE BEEN FACING ARREST AND PROSECUTION FOR DECADES TO WIN BACK THIS RIGHT. #FIFA PIC.TWITTER.COM/D1Q4ZCSG8P
— IRANHUMANRIGHTS.ORG (@ICHRI) OCTOBER 10, 2019