Iranian World Cup billboard changed to add women after criticism

Soccer Football – World Cup – Group B – Morocco vs Iran – Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia – June 15, 2018 Iran fans play football outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

A billboard in Iran supporting the national team’s World Cup journey has been modified after the original version didn’t feature any women.

The first billboard included fans celebrating with the World Cup. None of those fans were women. You can see the first version on the left in the tweet below.

After criticism by many in Iran when the first version went up, the billboard was changed Friday before the team’s game vs. Morocco in the World Cup. It features players and fans standing together in a pre-game line on the field. And yes, there are women in the second version.

It’s hard to see the initial omittance of women as an innocent mistake. Women have been considered second-class soccer fans in Iran for some time. In April, a group of women dressed up as men just to enter a soccer stadium. Why? Because women are prohibited attending soccer games ever since the Iranian revolution in 1979. The justification, if you want to call it that, has something to do with the way men act while watching games.

While women may have gotten some late representation on that billboard, the watch parties in Tehran’s stadium for the World Cup will be a male-only affair. According to the BBC, plans to allow women into the watch parties have been canceled.

Iranian fans did see a win on Friday, as the team benefitted from a terrible late own-goal by Morocco to win 1-0. Some Iranian fans in attendance brought signs to protest the ban on women at stadiums in the country.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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