Women to attend Iran's World Cup qualifier after assurances given to FIFA
Iranian women have snapped up tickets for Thursday's World Cup qualifier against Cambodia in Tehran after they were released for sale online.
Iranian authorities had assured world governing body FIFA that women would be allowed to attend the game and have set aside sections of the stadium for women.
The semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA said the 3,500 tickets set aside for women sold out within minutes of going on sale on Friday morning.- World Cup 2022 qualifying: All you need to know
FIFA told Reuters they expect a total of 4,600 tickets for women will be made available in the women only sections.
A spokesman for the organisation said that FIFA would be sending a delegation to the match at Tehran's 78,000 Azadi Stadium to monitor the access for women.
An activist with the group 'Open Stadiums', which campaigns for Iranian women to be able to freely attend matches, said the tickets went on sale without any announcement from the Iranian Football Federation and news of their availability only reached women via social media.
"It was quite a chaotic situation," she told Reuters.
The group welcomed the sale but said they were concerned that women only sections stopped mothers taking their sons to the match with them and said it was also unclear how women with disabilities would be accommodated in the venue.
At Iran's friendly against Syria in June, women were locked out of the Azadi Stadium and detained by security forces.
A female Iranian fan died last month, after setting herself on fire to protest against her arrest for attending a match.
While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men's teams have been playing since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
FIFA has said they want Iranian authorities to allow women access not only to World Cup qualifiers but to all games in the country.