Iranian football fan ‘Blue Girl’ dies after setting herself on fire

Iranian football fan 'Blue Girl' dies after setting herself on fire

This happened after she attempted to enter a soccer stadium in Iran to watch a football game disguised as a man. She was arrested.

Leyal Khalife

She attempted to enter a soccer stadium in Iran to watch a football game disguised as a man. Authorities arrested her and she was ultimately put on trial. During a recent court hearing, she learned that she may have to serve a six-month sentence for what she had done, so she set herself on fire last week.

That warrior died on Monday after succumbing to her injuries. The 30-year-old was known as the "Blue Girl" on social media in reference to her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal.

Her attempt to enter the football stadium, a space where women are banned from entering, was to watch that team go after goals back in March. She had dressed as a man and wore a blue hairpiece and long overcoat when the police stopped her.

"We call on football players not to play in honor of Sahar's memory"

The woman, referred to as Sahar Khodayari- which the BBC says is not her real name – was arrested for three days in March following her attempt to enter the football stadium. She was released on bail as she waited for her court case. When the time came, she appeared in court only to learn that it had been postponed as the judge had a family emergency.

According to the BBC, she went back to the courthouse to pick up her mobile phone where she overheard someone saying if she is to be convicted, she could get six months to two years in prison. That's when she set herself on fire.

Although there is no official ban in place, women in Iran are often refused entry as reported by the BBC. According to Human Rights Watch, this unofficial prohibition has barred women from entering stadiums since 1981. This was temporarily lifted last year to give women the chance to watch the streaming of World Cup matches from a stadium in Tehran.

Football's governing body FIFA set a deadline – Aug. 31 – for Iran to allow women into stadiums. Soon after, Iran's sport officials said women will be allowed to watch the next national team game at the Azadi stadium. But, as HRW writes, "that is not enough."

"Goodbye Iranian Blue Girl"

In March 2018, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that women in the country will soon be able to attend football matches. That same day, 35 women were arrested for sneaking into a football stadium. Less than two months later, another group of Iranian women dressed up as men to enter a football stadium.

"Why should I be scared? We women do not commit any crimes by going to stadiums," one woman said at the time.

"The law has not defined women's presence at stadiums as a crime. They have, of course, detained a few women and they have given a written promise not to go back there again."

"Gender apartheid"People are calling on FIFA to take action"I don't have any words""A tragic day for Iran"