As Iran prepare to face England in this year’s World Cup, women have to wear fake beards just to watch their team play… but 2,000 still haven’t been able to watch them play in Liban
- Iran have qualified for the World Cup and will face England in Qatar this year
- Iranian women have been banned from attending matches by their country
- Some have resorted to full beards in an attempt to watch their team play
Iranian women have been trying to circumvent their country’s repressive ban on attending games for 40 years, even wearing full beards in a bid to sneak into matches – but hardliners still refuse to budge, judging by the scenes from last week in Mashhad.
At least 2,000 women with tickets have been banned from entering the city’s stadium to watch Iran take on Lebanon in their final World Cup qualifier.
Iran’s attorney general apologized, the governor of Mashhad did the same, while Human Rights Wach (HRW) reported that some women were beaten as they were forced out of the stadium and asked FIFA to act.
Iran will face Gareth Southgate’s England side at the World Cup in Qatar in November
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has previously promised to ensure women can attend matches
“FIFA must follow its own global guidelines on non-discrimination and should consider applying sanctions in the event of Iran’s non-compliance,” said HRW researcher Tara Sepehri Far, who claimed that the FIFA President Gianni Infantino had “personally promised” that women would be allowed in. the match which Iran won 2-0, to finish top of their group. They were then drawn with England and USA in Group B in the November final.
FIFA has fought a losing battle trying to force the Iranian regime to change its approach, at a time when more women than ever are involved in the game globally.
Iran banned female spectators from football and other sports stadiums after the 1979 revolution, with clerics decreeing that women should be shielded from the male atmosphere.
FIFA is fighting a losing battle trying to force the Iranian regime to change its approach
Innovative female fans have long attempted to circumvent the ban, donning fake mustaches and beards at the risk of fines, beatings or imprisonment.
FIFA finally acted in 2019 with a directive to Iranians after soccer fan Sahar Khodayari, detained after trying to enter a stadium a year earlier, set herself on fire and died rather than die. ‘go to jail.
Events in Mashhad last week, however, suggest FIFA’s pleas have fallen on deaf ears.