An Iranian female football fan died on Tuesday after setting herself on fire a week ago. She had set herself alight following the postponement of her trial after she was caught entering a football stadium disguised as a man.
Sahar, as the woman was referred, though it was not her original name, was arrested in March. Following a jail term of three days, she was released on bail after which she waited for six months for her court case. On appearing at the court a week ago for a scheduled hearing, she was told her case had been postponed because the judge had a family emergency.
Reportedly, she had overheard someone in court saying that could get six months to two years in prison if proven guilty and convicted. She then lit herself with fire in front of the court house and succumbed to death on Tuesday.
She has been followed widely since March and became a sensation on social where she came to be known as ‘Blue Girl’, referring to the colours of her favourite team Esteqlal of Tehran. Women in Iran have been banned to watch men’s sporting events since 1981. While the ban is not a legal one as it is not mentioned in their constitution, Human Rights Watch says it is “ruthlessly enforced”.
The football fans in the country have been campaigning for quite some time lift the ban on female spectators and gained widespread traction following Sahar’s incident. Earlier this month the Iranians started an online campaign asking several global sporting organizations to ban their country from all type of competitions to stop the state interference in their country’s sports.
Taking mater in their own hands, football global governing body FIFA has set a deadline of August 31 for Iran to lift the ban. However, Iranian authorities are yet to guarantee anything on it.