Not sure if being a woman is a crime or watching football
The big tournament kicked off yesterday and today it will be Iran’s first national match against Morocco in the World Cup.
Iran is a country in which women are not allowed to enter sports clubs including soccer and in spite of widespread social protests against this inequality the clerical government has still not abolished this ban.
Women have been barred from attending football matches and other sporting events such as wrestling since the 1979 Islamic revolution, with officials saying women must be protected from the vulgar atmosphere.
Iranian regime officials, including Nasser Makarem Shirazi, have repeatedly opposed women’s freedom to cheer in sports stadiums and call it deviant and unethical. Many Iranian girls have been trying to enter sports stadiums by wearing men’s clothing to watch football matches. Iran state media even conclude that it’s a wonder if being a woman is causing the problem or just watching football is a crime for women?
Football is the most popular sport in Iran and state media has been discussing the impact the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal has had on football. Iranian footballers are banned from playing against Israeli teams. The directors of at least 10 Iranian football clubs are current or former commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Their positions derive from the IRCG’s financial and lobbying powers. Iran’s military institutions indirectly impact football.
Two weeks ago, the American company, Nike, refused to provide shoes for Iran’s national football team because of US sanctions, despite their previous agreement to do so. As well, many international companies are wary of sponsoring Iran’s national team.