Men vs. Women Soccer Game Causes Uproar in Iran

By Alex Cooze

TEHRAN, Iran (UTC/AP)–Three officials were suspended and $5,000 in fines were handed out Monday at a mixed soccer game between men and women in Tehran. This is the first such game since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran’s currently rules state that no physical contact may occur between men and women who are not related. Iranian women are also banned from attending any men soccer games. Only women may also attend games when women soccer players play. Occasionally, foreign women may attend men’s matches due to lack of knowledge of customs and language.

The game had been denied that it took place, but pictures and videos from cell phones have shown its existence.

The mixed game took place on Jan. 20th between Iran’s top soccer clubs. The female team played the youth male team which was the first time in 30 years that males and females have played soccer together.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has the final word on all Iranian matters and firmly believes that no women are allowed in the stands at soccer games, even in the segregated sections.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.