Women cheer during a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia at Azadi Stadium in Tehran in October. Photo: AFP

Iran’s biggest stadium will host the women’s national soccer team for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Sunday.

The team will compete against Russia at Tehran’s Azadi stadium in a friendly match as part of the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, soccer federation chief Mehdi Taj told ISNA.

Only female spectators will be permitted to attend the match, for which no date has yet been set.

Women were barred from attending matches after the Islamic revolution because the republic’s hardline clerics wanted them to be protected from the overtly masculine atmosphere of such events and the potentially arousing sight of semi-clad men.

They have also expressed concern over the risk of inadvertent touching as dense crowds of men and women leave stadiums.

However, the rules the rules have been loosened in recent months, with a select group of around 850 women being allowed to attend the Asian Champions League final between Iran’s Persepolis FC and Japan’s Kashima Antlers in November.

The women were seated in a separate stand and entered two hours before the game to avoid the crush.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse