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Iranian women allowed to attend WC qualifier

Iranian women have been banned from watching men's football in stadiums since 1979.

Iranian women fans will be allowed to attend a men's World Cup qualifying match in the Islamic Republic in October, a Sports Ministry official told the IRNA news agency on Sunday, amid heightened pressure from FIFA.

While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches in Iran, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men's teams are playing since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

FIFA wrote to the Iranian Football Federation in June asking it to provide a timeline towards women being able to buy tickets for the qualifiers, or face consequences.

"Women can go to Tehran's Azadi stadium to watch the match between Iran's national team and Cambodia in October for the Qatar World Cup qualifier," Minister Jamshid Taghizadeh said.

The AFC, the Asian football governing body which has 47 members including Iran, said on Tuesday it was working to help FIFA find an "amicable solution" that would allow Iranian female fans to attend future games in Iran.

"There is no legal ban for women to watch the football matches in the stadium. The activation of the infrastructure is underway," Taghizadeh added.

Iranian female fans have long campaigned to be allowed to watch men's football and occasionally a limited number of women have been allowed into the stadium.

In June, some women were detained by security forces when they went to the Azadi Stadium for a friendly against Syria.

Last year, some women risked arrest by donning fake beards and wigs to attend a game in the stadium. 

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