Spotting attractive women in male-dominated sports stadiums
But rarely does it spark international outrage and political protest. Iran, however, is different. Photographs and film of a small number of Syrian women cheering on their national team in Tuesday night’s key World Cup qualifying game between the two countries in Tehran caused an outcry on Thursday.
Women are not allowed to attend men’s sporting events in the Iran, a ban which the authorities insisted would remain in place for this week’s game at the Azadi (
A number of young Syrian women supporters, said to be employees of the country’s embassy, were however allowed to enter and were spotted celebrating when Omar Jihad al-Soma scored an injury-time equalizer to put Syria into a playoff with Australia at Iran’s expense.
To make matters worse, at least one of the women was not wearing a headscarf, mandatory for all females in Iran, and the others had them so far back over their heads that they may as well not have been wearing them.
Many leading Syrian players have defected, been arrested or even been killed during the civil war. Soma, the scorer, is said to have pledged allegiance to the rebels but continued to play. He and his many fans, including women, will no doubt be thankful for that.