Iranian women will officially be able to enter and watch a men’s soccer match for the first time in decades on Thursday.
FIFA, soccer’s governing body, ordered Iran to sell tickets to women for Thursday’s match in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. Thousands of women have now bought tickets to watch the 2022 World Cup Qualifier against Cambodia.
Women have been kept from attending men’s games for 40 years because of a ban imposed after the Islamic Revolution. Last month, 29-year-old activist Sahar Khodayari, known as “Blue Girl,” drew international attention to the ban after she set herself on fire and died because she feared going to prison for previously dressing as a man to watch a game.
In 2016, “60 Minutes” traveled to Iran to interview Iranian-American Katayoun Khosrowyar, who was then a coach for the girls’ national team, and visited Azadi Stadium with her. Now a head coach for the Reign Football Club Academy in Seattle, Khosrowyar says admitting women into men’s soccer games is overdue.
“I wish it had happened internally instead of Iran being forced,” she told 60 Minutes. “It’s a good moment for women to be more involved in the game.”
An activist inside Iran told “60 Minutes” that women attending tomorrow’s game is a “test step” in the “right direction.” She hopes one day to see women fill the stadium, but says, “several generations [may] have to pass or be lost in order for things to happen.”
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