(Paris) FIFA President Gianni Infantino welcomed Thursday that 3,000 women attended a football match in the stands in Iran, where their presence is most of the time prohibited.

“In September, I had the pleasure of meeting the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raïssi, in New York, the opportunity to discuss the development of women’s football in the country and the presence of women in the stadiums,” Infantino said on Instagram.

“It is therefore with great satisfaction that I learned that 3,000 women attended the Tehran derby between Persepolis FC and Esteghlal FC” on Thursday, he added.

This derby, one of the most important rivalries in world club football, is played in the Azadi (“Freedom”) Stadium, which has a capacity of 100,000.

FIFA has been pushing for years for Iran to open its stadiums to women, but until 2019 Tehran had only authorized a limited number of them on rare occasions (a maximum of a thousand female supporters in November 2018) to attend some meetings.

In 2021, the Iranian football federation asked parliament to adopt a law authorizing the presence of female spectators in stadiums.

“Thanks to the ongoing dialogue between FIFA and the Iranian Football Federation, there is progress,” rejoiced Gianni Infantino, who specified that he would soon visit the country.

“Iran is a major country in Asian football, and it is important to continue the fruitful collaboration we have started,” he concluded.

On Tuesday, the European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize posthumously to Iranian Mahsa Amini, who died at the age of 22 on September 16, 2022, three days after being arrested for failing to comply with the strict dress code imposed on women in Iran.

Her death led to months of protests against Iranian political and religious leaders, with Mahsa Amini becoming the symbol of the fight against the obligation to wear the veil. The violent repression of this movement caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests.