Women's football in Iran

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Women's football in Iran
Country Iran
Governing body Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran
National team Women's national team
National competitions
International competitions

Women's football in Iran is very popular. Football has been a part of life for Iranians for many decades now and is played in schools, alleys, streets and football clubs nationwide. Women in Iran are increasingly inclined to play football, and with this increasing popularity it is only a matter of time before a more secure infrastructure develops. The Iran women's national football team competes internationally.[1]

Women are not allowed to attend men's football matches.[2]


Women's football in Iran started in 1970. Women had the personal ambition of participating in male football competitions in alleys and streets, so they took part in some men's football games. During that time, when numerous trainers participated in the top grade of FIFA's training courses in Japan, they observed the Japan women's national football team's games against female teams from Korea, Singapore and India. That was the stimulus to the administrators of women’s football in Iran. Since 1970 serious measures were made in order to reach appropriate standards.

Taj was the first club to train women. Thereafter, women took part first in football training and then in football teams such as Taj, Deyhim, Persepolis FC, Oghab FC and Khasram. By organizing different competitions between those teams, the best players were selected and placed in the first Iranian women's national team. This team was composed of former volleyball players, basketball players and athletes aged from 12 to 18. They started to train more seriously as sport magazine published the news of their progress, then gradually a huge number of female fans arose to support the team. With the help of educational institutions across the country, talented youngsters were scouted.

As time went on, teams were selected, and eventually in 1971 a competition was organised by a women's sport magazine and the travel company Scandinavian Airlines System (S.A.S) under the supervision of the Football Federation, for that occasion the Italy women's national football team was invited to Iran and had two games against Taj and a team called Tehran in the Amjadieh stadium. Women's football continued to grow until the Iranian revolution in 1979.[3]


In 1993, a rebound was made for women's football in Iran, in the shape of futsal, a form of indoor football, started by Alzahra University. At first it faced the refusal by the sport's administration, however because of the passion shown by the students towards football, the university changed the law and the first unofficial female competition was organized since the Iranian revolution. In this competition 10 teams participated, most of them belong to Alzahra University and the rest were from other national universities. Women's football activity continued to grow until finally, in 1997 the physical education organization formed a women's futsal committee and since then officially sport clubs have begun to encourage women's futsal teams in Iran.

Since 2001, the first national female students' competition was officially organised under the supervision of the ministry of education, research and technology in Alzahra University. This competition was made by 12 teams from different universities.

In 2004, subsequent efforts were not made to provide facilities for women. Occasionally female teams train with the hijab in stadiums in small groups on good quality pitches. An attempt has also been made to allow women into stadiums at the same time as men. To date, women football players are unable to train on pitches of good quality. Nowadays only indoor facilities are accessible to women footballers. Until 2005 many competitions have been organized with the participation of foreign teams.

The Kowsar Women Football league is the primary women's football league in Iran.[4]

In 2015 for the first time in Iranian women's football history a national team qualified for the top continental competition. The U20 and the U17 team's qualified for the Asian Championships in China for their respective age groups.

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