But on Saturday, somewhere between 100 and 500 women, depending on reports, were admitted to the Azadi (Freedom) Stadium to watch Iran’s best-loved club, Persepolis, try to beat Japan’s Kashima Antlers.
As 80,000 people gathered at the Azadi to watch Saturday’s game, Iranian social media reports said most of the women who had been let into the stadium were relatives of players or members of Iran’s female football and futsal teams, and football federation employees.
Female fans visiting from other countries have been permitted to attend games at the Azadi Stadium in the past.
According to reports, Iranian parliament member Fatemeh Zolqadr said the world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, had demanded women be allowed to attend top-level games in Tehran.
A campaign organization called Open Stadiums presented FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura with a petition signed by more than 200,000 people this week, which called for open access to venues in Iran or women.