Tuesday Apr 10 2018

Iranian village lets women watch football

Supporters hold a banner reading 'Let Iranian women enter their stadiums' during the friendly international football match between Sweden and Iran at the Friends Arena in Solna near Stockholm on March 31, 2015

TEHRAN: Women in a remote Iranian village not only attend football matches but last week received awards for their attendance, local media reported on Tuesday.

The conservative Sobh-e No newspaper said the prizes were handed out to women after a veteran´s match last week in the village of Shahijan, which has a population of just 209, in the southern Bushehr province.

Clerics have banned women from attending football matches in Iran, saying they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere, though the ruling is frequently criticised from across the political spectrum.

"A dear grandmother had taken part in all the games as a spectator," said veteran player and former village chief Ali Omrani, according to the newspaper.

"She came up with her walking stick to receive her award and all spectators stood up and gave her a round of applause for several minutes.

"If those who oppose the presence of women in stadiums had been there, they would change their minds," he added.

Shahijan has reportedly been letting women into its matches for over a decade.

"Since then, instead of having a merely manly event, we have a human event. We feel it is the demand of all Iranian people for restrictions to be removed," said Omrani.

He said another young female spectator was also given an award last week.

"The principle has always existed in our village that women work alongside men in the economy, employment and agriculture... and everything has been arranged for women to be present in the sports ground so they can take part as well."