Two days after the visit of a Fifa delegation to Tehran, Federation President Gianni Infantino said he was "assured" by Iran that the fans will be able to attend a qualifying match for the World Cup in 2022 football between Iran and Cambodia.
"We were assured that from the next international match in Iran, women will be allowed to enter the football stadiums," Gianni Infantino told a women's football conference in Milan on Sunday (September 22nd).
Fifa in Iran after the suicide of a football supporter
Fifa's visit to Iran on Friday followed the death of an Iranian supporter, who died in mid-September after burning herself after being arrested for attempting to enter a stadium.
Sahar Khodayari's death sparked a stir on social media, where calls from celebrities, footballers and activists were sent to FIFA to ban Iran from international competitions and fans to boycott matches. On Tuesday, the Iranian judiciary announced that it would investigate his death.
Iranian footballers take a minute of silence in honor of their forbidden stadium supporter who set himself on fire #BlueGirl
Sahar Khodayari was 29 years old. https://t.co/T7AAcYnz2H
"We must have women present [at the stadium], we must press for it with respect, but in a strong and energetic way, we can not wait any longer," added Gianni Infantino. "It's something very important, it's been 40 years since this happened, with a few exceptions, but it's important to move on to the next level and the next step."
Women will be "officially" allowed to attend the October 10 match
During Friday's visit, Fifa's "experts", accompanied by representatives of the Asian Football Confederation, met in Tehran with a deputy of the Minister of Sports and representatives of the Iranian Federation. Iranian officials assured the FIFA delegation that changes had been made to allow women to be "officially" allowed to attend the Iran-Cambodia 20-2 qualifier match on Oct. 10.
It remains to be seen whether the Iranian authorities will keep their promises. The Iranian Sports Ministry had already announced at the end of August that the supporters would be allowed to attend the match, but this was not the case.
Iranian women have been banned from stadiums since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Religious leaders argue that they must be protected from the "male atmosphere" and the "half-naked men's view".
While a small number of women have been able to attend international matches in recent years, others have been prosecuted for entering a stadium outside of these occasions.