One of the strongest social movements that has developed in Iran through football, is the one that fight for the right of Iranian women to enter to stadium in the country, and specifically for the Iran national team games. Iran is one of the few countries in the world that does not allow women to watch men's football matches from the stadium.
In every game in Azadi, there are women dressed as men that try to enter the stadium. Some of these attempts are successful, but most of them end with arrest. There was also a film about the phenomena in 2006, 'Offside', whose director Jafar Panahi trialed for 20 years ban of publishing videos, pictures or texts and allegedly six years imprisonment. Luckily, he managed to leave Iran before the punishment was given.
"We are trying to raise this subject to global awareness so that there will be pressure on the government to change the situation," says Shaharzad (fake name), the one who manages the Open Stadiums twitter account, who has been promoting the agenda of women's entry to stadiums in Iran since 2009. "When I started, there were many educated people who did not like it. They did not consider entering a football game as part of women's rights in Iran,” she adds. "Today it is clear to everyone what should be, and when the national team coach and captain, Carlos Quieroz & Masoud Shojaei, talk about it openly in a press conference supporting the movement, on a stage like the World Cup, it clearly brings us closer to our goal."
Shahrazad shares the personal experience from Russia. "The game in St. Petersburg against Morocco was my first time in a football stadium, and I do not even know how to describe how it feels," she tells BabaGol with excited eyes. "This World Cup and this team are excellent ambassadors for our movement. We are growing, but we need more people to know about it. Today people in every country in the world know that in Iran the women are struggling to see football, and very soon people around the world know and want us to succeed.”