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Iran women finally allowed into football stadium

Iranian women will be able to enter a football stadium for the first time in 40 years, after FIFA, football’s governing body, threatened to suspend the Islamic nation over its controversial male-only policy.

More than 3,500 tickets have been sold to female fans for Iran’s World Cup qualifier against Cambodia in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Thursday, although Amnesty International called that a “token number” and a “publicity stunt” considering how the stadium has a capacity of 78,000.

One of the 3,500 women to have secured a ticket was Raha Pourbakhsh, a sports journalist. “I still can’t believe this is going to happen because after all these years of working in this field, watching everything on television, now I can experience everything in person,” she told AFP.

Women have been banned from attending men’s games because of a law imposed after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The issue gained global attention after 29-year-old Sahar Khodayari, known as “blue girl” because of the team she supported, died after setting herself on fire outside court last month as she awaited trial for trying to attend a match disguised as a man.

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