The website of Iran’s main stadium was hacked on Wednesday with a demand for women to be allowed into football matches.
A banner placed across the front page for several hours read: “Let Iranian women enter their stadiums”. In Iran, women are banned from attending to men’s football matches.
Tickets sold by mistake
A technical glitch allowed Iranian female football fans to buy online tickets for Tuesday’s match against Syria in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. Yet Iran’s Football Federation said that the tickets were sold by mistake, promising a refund to any women who had bought them.
Despite this, several female football fans attempted to enter the stadium, but were not allowed in.
As foreign females have permission to attend, several Syrian women went through the gates without any problems.
According to Shiva Nazar-Ahari, a women’s rights campaigner in Iran, around 20 women protested outside the stadium. Tehran’s authorities threatened these protesters with arrest.
“It was a very bitter experience. I was close to tears – never before have I felt so defeated and humiliated,” said Nazar-Ahari in an interview.
Some female MP’s attended
A couple of days earlier, following a request by lawmaker Tayebeh Siavoshi, the Ministry of Sport granted special permission for female members of parliament to attend to the match. Some members of parliament rejected the invitation.
'At a time when girls of this country have no choice but to dress as men to get into the stadium, I as a representative of these people would not like to be present in the stadium by receiving a special permit,' said the member of parliament Parvaneh Salahshouri to a local newspaper.
Still, a couple of female law-makers attended to the match.
'I believe we should make officials hear our demands through proper channels. I went to the stadium for this very demand,' said Tayebeh Siavoshi to the press.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has given support to women as part of a liberalising agenda. However, he has attracted criticism after failing to appoint a single female minister in his cabinet.