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Only women can watch

middle-east-online - Iranian female footballers are to make their first outdoor appearance for nearly 25 years next week, although only fellow women will be able to watch them treading the pitch in shorts and jerseys, an organiser of the event said Wednesday.

The head of the Iranian Women's Football Association, Khadijeh Sepanchi, said two amateur teams will play in the 30,000 seat Takhti stadium, east of Tehran.

"Only women can watch, since the players are going to be dressed in the standard football clothes," she said, adding that organisers hoped the event would pave the way for further competitive outings.

"FIFA and the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) should help us find a solution for the clothing, because Iranian women want to participate in this field," she said.

After Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, most sports requiring skimpy dress - such as swimming and gymnastics - were ruled off-limits for women, although in recent years some sporting restrictions have been eased.

Footballing activities for women are currently limited to futsal - an indoor variation of the sport. Sepanchi said about 4,700 women play the sport in football-mad Iran.

Under the Islamic laws in force in Iran, women can only show their faces and hands to unrelated males. They are also forbidden from showing off the shape of their figures.

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