Despite FIFA’s Pressure, Iran Not To Allow Women To Referee Men’s Matches

Gelareh Nazemi

Iranintl - An Iranian official has rejected reports that the international governing body of football, FIFA, is forcing Iran to let female referees officiate matches in the men's league.

Khodadad Afsharian, the head of the referees' committee of the country, said on Monday that although it was one of FIFA's demands, there is no requirement to do so and all national matches in men's and women's categories will continue to be judged by their respective referees.

Last week, he told the media that FIFA has asked the country’s federation to employ women referees for men's games, adding that the issue will be taken into consideration for the youth leagues.

He also said that women referees will participate in training courses on the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) Technology, which will be added to the country’s matches in the near future.

Late in August, under pressure from FIFA, 500 female fans were allowed into Tehran's Azadi Stadium to watch a local league football match.

Tickets were sold only to 500 female fans and a special forces unit consisting of female anti-riot police was present to lead them to their secluded section of the 100,000-seat stadium.

The world’s soccer authority had tried to convince Iran’s government to lift an unwritten ban on women attending stadiums to watch male players for nearly a decade. The ban has led to many arrests, beatings, detentions, and abuses against women.

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