The captain of the Iran football team has called on President Hassan Rouhani to lift the long-standing stadium ban imposed on women and allow them to attend matches.

“They should set a course that women are also allowed to come to the stadiums in future,” Masoud Shojaei, a midfielder who plays with Greek club Panionios, was quoted on the Varzesh3 newsportal Wednesday.

Shojaei’s demands breaks a taboo as no Iranian player had previously dared to call for a lifting of the ban, which now dates 38 years to the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Monday in a stadium free of female fans but thousands took to the streets in celebration after the victory over Uzbekistan.

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President Rouhani’s moderate government is against the stadium ban for women but has not yet been able to prevail over the influential clergy who remain behind it.

GNA