Iran to loosen restrictions on women at sporting events

Women will soon be allowed at indoor sport matches, but be banned from all outdoor sporting events, such as soccer games.

April 5, 2015 11:43
1 minute read.
Iran women

A woman, cheering on Iran's team, smiles while attending a soccer match in Nuremberg, Germany . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Beginning in 2016, women in Iran will be allowed to attend certain types of sporting events, something that has been illegal for most of the past 36 years.

Iran's Deputy Sports Minister Abdolhamid Ahmadi announced in state-run media the plan to allow "women and families" in sport arenas beginning next year.

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However, the ban will be lifted only for indoor sporting events. Women and families will still be banned from the country's most popular sporting events, such as soccer games, because, as Ahmadi said to Press TV, "families are not interested in attending."

The ban was instated following the 1979 Iranian revolution, when it was decided that men and women attending games together was "un-Islamic."

During former president Mohammad Khatami's time in power from 1997 to 2005, women were allowed to attend volleyball games. Though after his successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005, that freedom was revoked.

In November 2014, British-Iranian woman Ghoncheh Ghavami was sentenced to one year in jail after she and others demanded that women be allowed in to watch a volleyball match between Iran and Italy at Tehran's Azadi Stadium. She was pardoned on Thursday, five months into her sentence and after almost a year in custody.

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