After Death Of 'Blue Girl', FIFA Orders Iran To Allow Women In Stadiums
In the wake of ‘blue girl’ incident where a woman killed herself after being arrested for trying to enter a football stadium, a FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) delegation that visited Iran demanded the country to allow women free unlimited access to stadiums.
FIFA released a statement after holding talks on the matter on September 22.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) September 21, 2019
“FIFA has reiterated its firm and clear position that women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely and that the number of women who attend the stadiums be determined by the demand, resulting in ticket sales,” the statement read.
Iran barred women from entering football and other stadiums since 1981, with clerics arguing they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men.
However, the issue was never paid any heed until the first week of September, when a 29-year-old Iranian woman dubbed “blue girl” immolated herself on September 2, after being detained for dressing as a man to sneak into a soccer stadium.
Sahar Khodiyari set her self ablaze in front of Tehran’s Ershad Courthouse after learning she could face a six-month jail for entering a sports stadium where men’s game was in progress.
Later in the day, she died. She was called blue girl as she supported Esteghlal FC.
— Esteghlal (@EsteghlalFC_En) September 11, 2019
After her death, many Iranian women came to the forefront, spurring the movement that was initiated by Khodayari against the draconian law of not allowing women to follow games played by men.
Any statement from FIFA or the AFC regarding the death of Sahar Khodayari is vacuous and disingenuous. They have known about the stadium ban, and the women in danger because of it. They did nothing. They are complicit in systemic violence against women. #bluegirl #SaharKhodayari
— Shireen Footybedsheets Ahmed (@_shireenahmed_) September 11, 2019
Amnesty International also released a statement against the draconian Shia law in the Middle-East and beyond. “Iran is the only country in the world that stops and punishes women” seeking to enter soccer stadiums.
Even Saudi Arabia, a longtime holdout, recently removed the ban on women attending matches after a push from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
This is not the first time that FIFA has been involved in Iran’s women issue. Back in 2011, critics decried the organization’s decision to ban the Iranian women’s national soccer team from an Olympic qualifier because of their headscarves.