This week, Iranian authorities publicly reinforced a ban on women attending men’s sporting events, rekindling an old debate that has no place in the 21st century.

Ahead of a World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Syria at Tehran’s Azadi stadium, a number of women expressed surprise and joy on social media when the Iranian Football Federation’s official website provided a ticketing option for female attendees to attend the soccer game.

Filled with hope, a number of women bought tickets. But authorities quickly blamed a technical glitch and said that all tickets purchased would be canceled and refunded. The federation initially said only eight women bought tickets and issued a statement saying they were sold mistakenly, emphasizing that there were never any plans to allow the presence of women in Azadi stadium for the Iran-Syria match.

“The physical and infrastructural preparation of the stadiums are not up to having women attendees,” said Mehdi Taj, the president of the Iranian Football Federation.

At least not Iranian women.

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