Iranian women cheer during a soccer match between their national team and Cambodia in the 2022 World Cup qualifier at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
The initial allocation of 3,500 tickets for female fans was quickly sold out before an additional 1,100 were released for the World Cup qualifier.
“This is a very positive step forward, and one which FIFA, and especially Iranian girls and women, have been eagerly waiting for,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“The passion, joy and enthusiasm they showed today was remarkable to see and encourages us even more to continue the path we have started. History teaches us that progress comes in stages and this is just the beginning of a journey.
“Consequently, FIFA now looks more than ever towards a future when all girls and women wishing to attend football matches in Iran will be free to do so, and in a safe environment. There can be no stopping or turning back now.” He added.
Inside the stadium, those present were treated to 14 unanswered goals by the home team as it made light work of 169th ranked Cambodia. An Iranian woman cheers during the World Cup qualification match between Iran and Cambodia at the Azadi stadium in the capital Tehran on October 10, 2019.
Karim Ansarifard scored four and Zenit St. Petersburg striker Sardar Azmoun netted a hat-trick in a game that Iran led 7-0 at the interval.
Cambodia’s misery was compounded by a second-half penalty miss against its 23rd ranked host.
“The effective 5% quota on seats for women contravenes FIFA’s constitution, statutes, and its human rights policy,” the organization said.
“Article 4 of its statutes states that discrimination against women ‘is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion’ of the FIFA member.’’
When asked if these conditions truly meet its statutes that prohibit gender discrimination, FIFA told CNN: FIFA’s stance on the access of women to the stadiums in Iran has been firm and clear: women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. For all football matches.