Tehran, Iran: As women are banned from men’s sports events in Iran, five female football fans had to wear men’s clothes complete with fake beards and wigs to get past the security in order to get to the stands at the central Azadi Stadium in Tehran. They were determined to be part of their favorite team Persepolis Celebration of their 11th championship of Iran’s Persian Gulf Pro League at the Stadium.
Photos and a video of the disguised Iranian women, went viral after they posted them on social media.
Commentators on social media praised their bold move, which can lead to arrest, detention or even a prison term in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Others pointed out that the story repeats the plot of the movie “Offside,” in which girls, pretending to be men, sneak into the same stadium to watch a World Cup playoff against Bahrain.
The girls infiltrated the stadium just three weeks after 35 women disguised as men were detained as they tried to attend a match between Persepolis and Esteghlal in Teheran. Those women were later released after being brought to a “proper place” as a ministry spokesman put it.
It didn’t go so well for Ghoncheh Ghavami, an Iranian-British woman, who in 2014 attended a World League volleyball match and faced charges of propaganda against the state, spending more than five months in prison.
FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, has recently been criticized for turning a blind eye to the Iranian women’s right record in Iran after he visited the Islamic Republic to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Iran’s football federation. Infantino rebuffed the criticism, defending the decision not to expel Iran from FIFA.
He stated that Iranian President Hassan Rohani told him that the republic plans to remove the ban, already lifted for some indoor sporting events.
In a historic breakthrough this March, National Basketball Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran has permitted female visitors to take to the stands and watch a game between the national teams of Iran and Iraq.
At the same time the security chief for the Tehran municipality, Alireza Adeli, commenting on the recent incident, told Memri that women are banned because of the “crowds” and “inappropriate conditions.”
“The ban is to save their honour, because the stadium’s atmosphere, mess, and crowds are no place for women,” he stated.