FIFA officials plan to visit Iran, following the death of Sahar Khodayari who set herself on fire in protest of her arrest and 6 month pending prison sentence for attending a match. Iran bans women from entering soccer stadiums. While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men’s teams have been playing since just after the 1979 Islamic revolution. Khodayari was able to entered the stadium dressed as a man but was eventually caught.
Khodayari became known as “Blue Girl” because blue is the color of her favorite soccer team, called Esteqlal of Tehran. Since her death, there have been millions of social media posts and protests around the world. The hashtags being used are #BanIRSportsFederations and #BlueGirl.
In the next two weeks FIFA officials are expected to meet with Iranian soccer officials ahead of Iran’s World Cup qualifying games. They face Cambodia at home on Oct. 10th. The FIFA officials will check the preparations made by the Iranian FA to provide access to that match for women. FIFA president Gianni Infantino has previously put pressure on Iranian authorities to allow Iranian and foreign women to buy tickets and attend games. The FIFA statutes say that discrimination on grounds of gender is punishable by suspension or expulsion. Let’s just seeing if FIFA will up hold their own standards or are they just another “money hungry” sports organization.