Iranian women allowed to attend soccer match for first time in decades

Iranian women have just watched a FIFA soccer match kickoff after being freely allowed into a stadium for

the first time in decades.

Iran faces Cambodia in the 2022 World Cup qualifier being held Thursday at Tehran's Azadi Stadium.

But the match has taken on even greater importance after Iran, facing pressure from the world soccer body, allocated 4,000 tickets for women. They had been banned since 1981.


Iranian women cheer ahead of the World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C qualification football match between Iran and Cambodia at the Azadi stadium in the capital Tehran on October 10, 2019. (Photo by ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

Authorities provided special security and female police officers for the match.

The decision follows the death of a young woman who set herself on fire after hearing she could face prison time for sneaking into an Iranian soccer match disguised as a man.

Iran is the world's last nation to bar women from soccer matches. Saudi Arabia recently began allowing women into soccer matches.