10/09/2019, 10.12
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Tehran quadruples tickets reserved for women ahead of Cambodia game

The first 3,500 tickets for women spectators sold out in less than an hour. Tickets proudly posted to social media. The match is valid for qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. In response to the extraordinary demand, the authorities have decided to increase the sectors.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In response to the "extraordinary" demand for tickets from female football fans for the match between Iran and Cambodia, the authorities have increased the number of reserved tickets.

The match will take place tomorrow, October 10th, at the Azadi stadium in Tehran and will be valid for the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The leaders of the local Football Association have quadrupled the reserved tickets, after the first 3500 sold out in under an hour.

The match has attracted international attention for an issue beyond the pitch. FIFA, the body that presides over world football, has in fact exerted great pressure on political and institutional leaders in Tehran, for the cancellation of the ban that has prevented - for over 40 years - women from watching football matches.

A law ended up being targeted by the institution, which even went so far as to threaten Iran with cancelling its participation should it fail to comply. Despite the opposition of a substantial part of the political leadership (conservative) and the religious wing, those responsible for sport complied with the request and opened the doors of the stadiums to the fairer sex.

This pressure reached the highest levels about a month ago, following the death of Sahar Khodayari, better known as "Blue girl" for the colors of the team of which she was a fan, the Esteghlal. The young woman died last September 10th, after setting herself on fire outside the court where she was at trial for having dressed as a man to enter the stadium and watch a game.

According to a report from the Irna agency, the tickets sold to women are almost the same as those of men. The official website - accessible only within the Islamic Republic - put tickets on sale on 3 October. At first only part of the stadium was reserved for the fairer sex. However, after the available tickets were sold out in the first hour, the authorities decided to increase the dedicated sectors to four.

On social media, women proudly displayed photos of tickets purchased for the game and are preparing to attend the big event tomorrow. Now the focus shifts to the next challenges, to understand if the openings of the first match are an isolated case or the first step towards a phase of greater liberalization. In this sense Fifa was clear: if the stadiums are not open to women, tomorrow and in the future, Iran will be excluded from all international competitions.

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