Setback: Women Deprived of Football Stadium Attendance Again


n a disappointing move, the Iranian Football League organization, through a letter to the Central Football Association, declared the prohibition of women’s presence at Hafeziyeh Stadium in Arak to watch the crucial knockout match between Aluminum Arak and Persepolis.

According to the Campaign for the Defense of Political and Civil Prisoners, this widely covered news once again highlights gender discrimination in Iranian sports.

The Iranian Football League organization cited “structural problems, lack of guidelines for stadium access control, stadium infrastructure deficiencies, lack of women’s safety assurance, and lack of standard procedures for women’s hospitality” as reasons for this prohibition. However, these justifications do not seem convincing, as Aluminum Arak Club had female spectators attending their home matches earlier in the current league season.

Speculations suggest that this new ban might be related to incidents during the Esteghlal and Aluminum matches in Arak. In that game, two female spectators attracted attention by entering the field, resulting in summoning and punishment of two Esteghlal players.

The ban on women’s entry to stadiums in Iran has a long history and has been repeatedly criticized by human rights activists and the international community. This inhumane act not only violates women’s rights blatantly but also harms Iranian sports.

Officials in Iranian sports should strive to address real issues and create safe and appropriate conditions for women’s presence in stadiums, instead of enforcing discriminatory laws.

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