While the ban on the entry of women into sports stadiums in Iran continues, Malavan soccer club has requested the presence of female fans.
In a letter to the Bandar Anzali Security Council and the Football Federation on Monday, the club said “the infrastructure of the stadium is suitable for the entry of families and women”, requesting that “their female fans enter the stadium in the 26th week of Iran's premier football league on Saturday.”
On some occasions when a limited number of women have been allowed in stadiums, they were placed in separate sections, not mixing with men but the ban has subsequently led to many arrests, beatings, detentions, and assaults against women.
The request comes amid a government push to enforce hijab on women and a permission to allow them into a stadium would anger hardliners.
The plea comes as the vice president of the football federation announced in February that “until further notice, the infrastructure for the presence of women in the stadiums is not available”.
The international governing body of the football association (FIFA) has tried to convince Iran’s government to lift an unwritten ban on women attending stadiums to watch male players for nearly a decade.
Iranian officials have always argued that male football fans swear profanities, so the atmosphere of stadiums is not suitable for women even if they are seated in a different part of the stadium.