Tehran (Times Of Ocean)- The Iranian media reported on Monday that hundreds of ticketed fans were locked out of a football stadium after women were denied entry.
On Tuesday night, Iran defeated Lebanon 2-0 at the Imam Reza stadium in Mashhad, in a World Cup qualifier.
The state-run ISNA news agency reported that about 2,000 Iranian women who purchased tickets for the Iran-Lebanon match were present at the perimeter of Imam Reza Stadium but were unable to enter.
“For this match, 12,500 tickets were sold, of which 2,000 were for women,” ISNA added.
Mashhad governor Mohsen Davari said on IRIB state television: “I apologize that many people were unable to enter the stadium…
Sadly, many people outside the stadium weren’t able to watch the game.”
President Ebrahim Raisi allegedly ordered the interior ministry to investigate the incident following the controversy.
For the first time in almost three years, women were allowed to attend an international in January, a World Cup qualifier against Iraq.
Since the Islamic republic was founded in 1979, female spectators have been barred from football and other sports stadiums.
The clerics, who play a critical role in decision-making, argue that women should be protected from the masculine atmosphere and the sight of semi-clad men.
In September 2019, FIFA, the world’s governing body of soccer, ordered Iran to allow women access to stadiums without restriction and in numbers based on demand.
After Sahar Khodayari set herself on fire in fear of being jailed for trying to attend a match in disguise, a FIFA directive threatened Iran’s participation in competitions.
She was reportedly detained in 2018 as she tried to enter a stadium dressed as a male.
Iran was boycotted and Iran’s matches were called off after her death sparked an outcry.
For years, FIFA had pushed for Iran to open its stadiums to women, but Tehran had only allowed a small number of women to attend matches on rare occasions until 2019.