ICHR Calls on Iran’s authorities to lift all restrictions on women attending matches in all football stadiums, and to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against any woman facing prosecution for attempting to enter a football stadium or protesting against such restrictions.
“Allowing thousands of women to enter the football stadium, but not allowing their footage to air, and adding unequal restrictions which prevent women from attending the game on an equal footing to men highlights the need to keep the awareness on Iran until it comes into full compliance with FIFA statutes and ends this discriminatory policy for good.”Said Ardeshire Zarezadeh, Executive Director for Iran, and The Middle East at ICHR Canada.
The game marks the first time Iran will allow women into Azadi Stadium since the shocking death of Sahar Khodayari,who set herself on fire last month after being summoned to court to face charges after trying to enter the football stadium.
The authorities have limited the number of tickets sold to women to attend tomorrow’s match. Only four sections of the stadium have been allocated to women spectators totalling around 3,500 seats. The Azadi Stadium has a capacity of around 78,000 seats.
“Iran’s decision to allow a few number of women into the stadium for one game at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on 10 October is nothing but a publicity stunt by the Iranian authorities intended to whitewash their image following the global pressure over Sahar Khodayari’s tragic death,” Said Ardeshire Zarezadeh, Executive Director for Iran, and The Middle East at ICHR Canada.
Anything less than a full reversal of the ban on women accessing all football stadiums is an insult to Sahar Khodayari’s memory and an affront to the rights of all the women of Iran who have been courageously campaigning for the ban to be lifted.
Instead of taking half actions to address their discriminatory treatment of women who want to watch football, the Iranian authorities must lift all restrictions on women attending football matches, including domestic league games, across the country. The international community, including world football’s governing body, FIFA, must also ensure that woman are permitted to attend all matches .
FIFA has a responsibility to respect human rights throughout its operations and the power under its statutes to take definitive and urgent action to address a situation which it has been allowed to continue for far too long.
Publicly, FIFA has reiterated its position that women should be permitted to enter football stadiums for all matches. Despite these efforts, Iran’s authorities have not lifted all restrictions on women attending football matches.
FIFA has increased its pressure on Iran following the death of Sahar Khodayari in September 2019 a few days after she set herself on fire outside a courthouse in Tehran where she was facing prosecution for trying to enter Azadi Stadium disguised as a man.
“Allowing women to buy thousands of tickets is an important step towards lifting the discriminatory ban, but we can not fully celebrate a victory until its fully lifted, and women are allowed the same opportunities to buy tickets as men, and when they’re able to attend games as sports fans without gender-specific restrictions.” Said Ardeshire Zarezadeh, Executive Director for Iran, and The Middle East at ICHR Canada.
Since the beginning of 2018, at least 40 women have been arrested and some prosecuted for attempting to enter football stadiums. Which ICHR is calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against any woman facing prosecution for attempting to enter a football stadium or protesting against such restrictions.