Iran Moves To Allow Women To Attend Sports Matches

Under Iran's Islamic law, women are banned from watching men play sports -- but that may be about to change.

Iranian authorities will begin implementing a plan to allow women to watch men's sporting matches, overturning a long ban on such attendance, according to Iranian state media.

Deputy Minister of Sport and Youth in Cultural, Education and Research Affairs Abdolhamid Ahmadi told state news agency IRNA that the new policy would come into effect this Iranian calendar year, which ends in March 2016.

Under the strict religious law in the Islamic Republic of Iran, women were barred from watching men compete in sports, however the government said in January that it would allow foreign women to attend men's matches, according to Reuters.

But Ahmadi said some matches would still see no women in attendance, Reuters reported.

"Of course, in some areas of sport families are not interested in attending nor is there a possibility for them to attend," he said."

Earlier this week, news emerged that Iran had pardoned British-Iranian woman Ghoncheh Ghavami, who had been arrested in June for protesting outside a stadium, demanding to be allowed to watch a men's volleyball match.

"The uncertainty of autumn and the dark clouds of winter have gone," her brother Iman Ghavami said on Facebook. "And the sun once again is shining for my family. Spring is here."