Iran allows women to attend Asian Champions League final

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution women have not been allowed to watch men's football matches in stadiums

A 0-0 draw was enough to take Kashima Antlers to AFC Champions League glory as Persepolis failed to break down the dogged visitors.

"FIFA added human rights to their statutes and the AFC did the same, so we're in a new world now where human rights have been adopted as part of the statutory framework within which we work and that must make a difference when decisions like these are made", Moya Dodd, chair of the AFC's women's football committee, told Reuters.

"Today is a historic and festive day for football, a real breakthrough", Infantino said.

Iran is not a country that yields under global pressure, but FIFA, the world's football governing football, has done significant progress, encouraging the government to have a more open and inclusive approach towards women at special events.

Hundreds of Iranian women were allowed to attend a Tehran football match game, following 37 years of vetoing such privileges.

"I was delighted to personally witness that, for the first time in 40 years, Iranian female football fans were allowed to attend an official match again", Infantino said in a statement.

They had won the first leg 2-0 in Kashima last week with Brazilian duo Leo Silva and Serginho on target. She said on Twitter that 500 women were allowed to watch the game in a special area of the Tehran stadium, which hosted some 100,000 fan in total, according to reports.

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World governing body Federation Internationale de Football Association said more than 1,000 women attended, though local news agency ISNA put the figure at around 500.

After the revolution nearly 40 years ago, women were allowed to attend a football match in Iran for the first time in November 2001 when around 20 Irish women were among the crowd for an Iran-Ireland World Cup qualifier.

Conversely, during the World Cup in June, women were allowed to watch their national team. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution women have not been allowed to watch men's soccer matches in stadiums, though they have occasionally been allowed to watch volleyball and basketball in stadiums.

Video posted on social media last week showed officials at the Azadi Stadium discussing possible locations for a "family stand", an initiative that would permit women to access the stadium.

But Iran's first vice-president, Eshaq Jahangiri, urged sports authorities "not to allow politics to affect football", quoted by IRNA.

And having watched domestic rivals Urawa Red Diamonds lift the title a year ago, Go Oiwa's side will go into the showpiece event in confident mood they can make it back-to-back Japanese winners.



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