Soccer game

Iranian woman facing jail for sneaking into soccer game dies after setting herself on fire

An Iranian woman has died after setting herself on fire while sentenced to six months in prison for sneaking into a football stadium dressed as a man so she could watch, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Sahar Khodayari, 29, died Monday after soaking herself in gasoline outside the Ershad courthouse in Tehran on September 2 after learning of the possibility of a prison sentence. She was hospitalized with burns to 90% of her body and placed on a ventilator until her death.

Khodayari was arrested in March and jailed for three days after she was caught trying to enter Tehran’s Azadi Stadium to watch her favorite team Esteghlal take on United Arab Emirates side Al Ain.

In Iran, women are banned from entering soccer stadiums to watch men’s matches, a law enacted in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution. FIFA said Iran must resolve this issue before Iran stage their first home qualifier against Cambodia.

FIFA said on Tuesday it was “aware of this tragedy and deeply regrets it”.

“FIFA sends its condolences to Sahar’s family and friends and reiterates its calls on the Iranian authorities to guarantee the freedom and safety of all women engaged in this legitimate fight to end the ban on stadiums for women in Iran,” the organization said in a statement. declaration.

Khodayari’s sister told Iran’s pro-reform newspaper Shahrvand that her sister has bipolar disorder and her father said she stopped taking her medication last year.

Khodayari’s death prompted the hashtag “BlueGirl” to trend on Iranian social media, with many calling for an end to the ban on women entering soccer stadiums during men’s matches.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi, a vocal critic of the ban, called on fans to boycott Iranian football stadiums in protest.

Iranian-Armenian soccer player Andranik “Ando” Teymourian, who played for Esteghlal and was the team’s first Christian captain, said one of Tehran’s soccer stadiums should be named after Khodayari.

Football is not the only sport where women are banned or segregated from men in Iran – women are not allowed to attend men’s volleyball matches in Tehran, although they can in other cities Iranian.