0505 GMT June 25, 2022
Iran is set to welcome up to 10,000 supporters at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium for the upcoming 2022 World Cup Asian qualifier against South Korea, according to the spokesman of the country’s National Task Force for Fighting the Coronavirus.
Dragan Skocic’s men will take on South Korea on October 7 after an away tie against the UAE five days earlier.
Speaking to state-run television IRINN, Alireza Raisi said, “The Sports Ministry asked for permission to let in 500 spectators for the match against South Korea, but we said 10,000 fans, who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, will be eligible to attend the game.”
However, the Iranian official added that all supporters will still need to practice the social distancing and wear protective masks throughout the game.
Raisi also called on the Sports Ministry to prioritize the Iranian health and medical staff for watching the game from the stands, as a gratitude for their efforts during the outbreak of the disease.
Football fans have been barred from entering the stadiums in Iran since March 2020, amid a first wave of the coronavirus infections in the country.
Iran leads Group A of the Asian qualifiers with six points, with South Korea in the second place on four.
The first two rounds of matches in the group saw Iran edge past Syria 1-0 in Tehran in early September, courtesy of an Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s second-half strike, before the Iranian skipper was again on the score sheet, alongside Mehdi Taremi and Ali Qolizadeh, as Iran beat Iraq 3-0 in Doha.
South Korea, meanwhile, was held to a goalless draw at home against Iraq but managed to walk away with a 1-0 victory over Lebanon, also on home soil.