Football: Iranian fan dies, after setting fire to herself

  • 11/09/2019
An all-male crowd attends football in Iran
An all-male crowd attends football in Iran. Photo credit: Getty

An Iranian woman has reportedly set fire to herself and died, after she was arrested for dressing as a man and sneaking into a football match.

Sahar Khodayari, 29, has become an instant martyr for women's rights in Iran, with the 'BlueGirl' hashtag trending on social media across the country.

Her death has caused an outcry against a ban on women attending men's games, introduced during the 1979 Islamic revolution.

International football body FIFA said it was "aware of that tragedy and deeply regret it".

According to Iranian website Rokna, Khodayari had dressed in blue to support favourite team Esteghal in a match against United Arab Emirates side Al Ain at Tehran's Azadi Stadium.

When she was discovered and arrested, Khodayari learned she could face six months in prison, so she doused herself with petrol and set fire to herself on the steps of a courthouse.

She suffered burns to 90 percent of her body and died, after a week on a respirator at a Tehran hospital.

Iranian footballer Ali Karimi (left) in World Cup qualifying.
Iranian footballer Ali Karimi (left) in World Cup qualifying. Photo credit: Getty

"FIFA convey our condolences to the family and friends Sahar and reiterate our calls on Iranian authorities to ensure the freedom and safety of any women engaged in this legitimate fight to the end the stadium ban for women in Iran," said a FIFA statement.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi, who played 127 matches for Iran, has called for a boycott of football stadiums to protest Khodayari's death.

Former Iranian captain and Esteghlal player Andranik Teymourian has called for a stadium to be named after Khodayari.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: