Iranian female football fan dies after setting herself on fire

Supporters of Iranian soccer team Esteghlal cheer at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran Iran on Dec. 9 2011

Supporters of Iranian soccer team Esteghlal cheer at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran Iran on Dec. 9 2011

Iranian women are not allowed to watch men's sporting events at local stadiums.

Federation Internationale de Football Association said Tuesday it was "aware of that tragedy and deeply regret it".

At that point, the poured petrol on herself and set herself on fire, suffering 90 per cent burns to her body.

"Her family received a warning and is not allowed to talk to the media anymore", Maziyar Bahari, an Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker who is in contract with Khodayari's family, told DW.

"Khodayari would still be alive if it were not for this draconian ban and the subsequent trauma of her arrest, detention and prosecution for attempting to circumvent it", said Amnesty's Philip Luther.

The semi-official Shafaqna news agency said the woman - dubbed "Blue Girl" online for her favourite team Esteghlal's colours - died at hospital on Monday after her self-immolation outside a court where she feared being jailed for six months.

Iran has come under pressure from Federation Internationale de Football Association to allow women to attend qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, and was reportedly given a deadline of Aug 31 to comply.

According to the BBC, it is thought she overheard someone at the court suggesting that she could be jailed for between six months and two years if she was found guilty.

Sahar was pretending to be a man and wore a blue hairpiece and a long overcoat when the police stopped her.

No verdict had been delivered in her case so far.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi - who played 127 matches for Iran and has been a vocal advocate of ending the ban on women - urged Iranians in a tweet to boycott soccer stadiums to protest Khodayari's death.

The Iranian-Armenian soccer player Andranik "Ando" Teymourian, the first Christian to be the captain of Iran's national squad and an Esteghlal player, said in a tweet that one of Tehran's major soccer stadiums would be named after Khodayari " in the future".

Federation Internationale de Football Association has given the Islamic Republic until October to pave way for women to freely enter sports arenas and watch men's live matches.

Parvaneh Salahsouri, a reformist lawmaker, said Sahar was "Iran's girl".

A partial exception came in November when hundreds of Iranian women, who were separated from male supporters, were allowed into the Azadi Stadium in Tehran to watch the Asian Champions League final. Her favorite team responded to her death.

"The stadium ban is not written into law or regulation but is ruthlessly enforced by the country's authorities", wrote Mindy Worden, the director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch.

The death of Khodayari sparked an outcry online, with many calling on world football's governing body FIFA to ban Iran from worldwide competitions and for fans to boycott matches.

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