The violation of women’s rights in social, political, and sports spheres is deeply distressing for the majority of Iranians. Despite progress, women in Iran are still prohibited from entering football stadiums. However, a significant milestone was achieved during the 2018 FIFA World Cup when, after 40 years, they were finally granted access to Azadi Stadium in Tehran to experience live football matches.
On March 1st, during a meeting between Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, and Hassan Rouhani, the former president of Iran, the lifting of the ban on women’s presence in stadiums was discussed. Subsequently, selective permits were issued, allowing women to enter sports venues.
The long-awaited opening of the doors at Azadi Stadium coincided with the excitement of the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Families were now able to come together and enjoy the thrill of watching the Iranian national team compete. Nevertheless, challenges persist as women’s entry into stadiums continues to be hindered by governmental and religious policies.
This narrative is a vital part of an ongoing documentary photo project that delves into the contemporary issues of Iran, encompassing cultural, political, and religious dimensions, and exploring their profound impact on the lives of football fans and enthusiasts of other sports. Recognizing its significance, this compelling story was honored with the prestigious first prize at the Paris Sports Photo Prize in 2019.