Esteghlal FC goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini hugging a young female fan on April 12, 2024

Controversy Erupts As Female Fan Hugs Goalkeeper In Iran

Saturday, 04/13/2024

Iran's Vice President for women and family affairs, Ensiye Khazali, urged the sports minister to deal with an incident involving the goalkeeper of a football team embracing a female fan on the pitch.

It is forbidden in Iran for strangers from the opposite sex to touch one another or show any sort of intimacy, specially in public.

On Friday, a young woman in Iran took a risk, running onto the field without wearing the compulsory hijab and was hugged by Esteghlal FC goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini during a match against another Iranian team, Aluminum Arak.

Khazali responded by writing to the minister of sports demanding that "guidelines for women's entry into stadiums be put into full effect as they are poorly implemented.”

The situation degraded when the police intervened to push Hosseini and the fan apart, leading to an altercation. Later he gave his jersey to her and she proudly waved it to the fans, who were shouting "shame on you" at the police.

In response, the Iranian Football League Organization has summoned Hosseini to a disciplinary committee for his hug, noting it to be "unprofessional and beyond the legal duties of a player."

The IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency also used the incident to criticize the policy of women in stadiums.

Iran’s approach to women spectators in sports venues has not only led to domestic controversy but also international scrutiny.

Despite some previous measures to relax restrictions, such as controlled entry for women, the backlash from 2022 nationwide protests led to a reversal, culminating in matches being held without any spectators for several months.

Follow developments on Iran International's Live coverage of ongoing tensions between Iran and Israel.

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