FIFA World Cup 2022: Iran’s female fans fear being spied on at the 2022 World Cup
Female Iranian World Cup attendees have expressed concern over being watched while there. The women are concerned that “government spies” are watching them at Qatar’s stadiums, according to The Athletic. Since women have been prohibited from attending football games in Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, their participation in the World Cup may present problems for them when they return home. Many supporters in Qatar showed their solidarity during the games in support of the continuing demonstrations against Iran’s repressive government.
What have Iran’s female fans said about being spied on at the 2022 World Cup?
According to The Athletic, a spectator observed a man with binoculars observing the gathering of supporters while he paid no attention to what was happening on the field. Another person said that a man in a suit had started filming a group of women during Iran’s game against England and then continued elsewhere in the stadium. The stadium “spies” have apparently been the subject of numerous complaints to FIFA’s Human Rights Grievance Procedure, and the organization has vowed to designate an “independent expert assessor.” However, there are worries that once Iran’s female supporters return home, there may be negative consequences.
Why are women unable to watch football in Iran?
Iranian authorities have prohibited women from watching football and other sports in stadiums for the past 40 years, claiming that doing so will shield them from a male environment and the sight of men in shorts. Although this prohibition is not stated in any laws or regulations, it has been consistently applied for many years. A few times in recent years, especially after the passing of football supporter Sahar Khodayari, it has been loosened. The 29-year-old was detained in March 2019 after attempting to enter a game at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium by dressing as a guy.
Khodayari discovered that she might face a revolutionary court trial and a six-month prison sentence. She set herself on fire out of desperation and died from her burns a week later. Authorities decided to allow women to watch Iran’s 2022 World Cup qualifier versus Cambodia after being persuaded by this occurrence, which drew widespread outcry. But since then, there have only been a few games that have allowed female spectators, and many of them continue to face persecution for trying to watch the sport they love.
A human rights organization called Open Stadiums even requested that FIFA exclude Iran from the 2022 World Cup due to its discriminatory practices. Iran is scheduled to play their third game in the competition this evening, despite FIFA’s failure to reply to the request. They will compete against the Americans, with both sides competing for a spot in the round of 16.