Two prominent Iranian footballers have called for lifting a ban on women attending major men's sports events, adding to pressure from women's rights activists long battling the prohibition.
Ali Karimi, who is widely regarded as one of the best Iranian players of all time, expressed hope on July 10 that "the conditions are set with the help of" President Hassan Rohani and the Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) "for women to enter stadiums" as spectators.
"This is the demand of millions upon millions of female fans who'd like to watch football matches and other events up close," Karimi, a former midfielder for Iranian and European clubs who now coaches Naft Tehran, was quoted by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying. "This important issue is not impossible, this dream of female sports fans can be achieved through correct planning."
Weeks earlier, Iranian national team captain Masud Shojaei called on Rohani to lift the ban.