Tehran, Sep 22 (IANS) FIFA has demanded Iran’s football federation ensure that women are allowed to attend matches in the country. In the wake of an incident in which a woman killed herself after being arrested for attending a footbal match in Tehran, football’s governing body sent a delegation to the country to “discuss measures designed to allow women in Iran to freely attend football matches”.
In a statement released on Saturday, FIFA said that the delegation met the country’s Deputy Minister of Sport and Youth, and representatives of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI). “In these productive discussions, FIFA 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,” FIFA said in the statement.
Sahar Khodayari, who has since been dubbed “blue girl” because of the colours of the team she supported — Esteghlal FC — was arrested in March when she tried to enter a football stadium to watch a match disguised as a man. She was jailed for three days and then waited six months for her court case while on bail. She set herself on fire in front of the court when her trial was postponed due to the judge having a family emergency and after she reportedly overheard someone saying that she could be facing a jail term of six months to two years if convicted.
Women have been banned from going to stadiums to watch men’s sporting events since 1981.