Tuesday, 29 November 2022 – Female Iranian football supporters fear they are being followed by ‘government spies’ inside stadiums at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar.
Women attending the World Cup have reported recognising members in the crowd taking pictures and keeping track of supporters as civil unrest continues to grow back home in Iran.
Women are being persecuted in Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the weeks building up to the tournament. She died while in police custody for allegedly breaking strict Islamic rules on wearing the hijab.
There have been ongoing protests across the country as the Islamic Republic’s morality police continue to receive criticism for not protecting woman’s welfare.
The government came under heavy fire from members of the public, including Iran stars featuring at the World Cup who refused to sing the national anthem.
Worrying troubles now appear to have followed female supporters to the nearby nation of Qatar as ‘spy’ complaints were first revealed by The Athletic.
One concerned fan told how she had seen a man with binoculars keeping track on supporters in the crowd rather than turning his attention to the action on the pitch.
Another complainant described a gentleman apparently filming a group of women in hijabs as he moved around the stadium at different intervals during Iran’s opening defeat against England.
Human rights activists believe the Iranian government intentionally sent officials to keep track of women attending matches in Qatar, with many supporters expecting to be punished upon return to their home nation.
FIFA’s Human Rights Grievance Procedure has so far been inundated with complaints against the stadium spotters as the recognised professional body promised to assign an ‘independent expert assessor’.