The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has revoked its stand on disallowing women from entering football stadiums in Iran.
An official statement from FIFA said, “FIFA has 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.”
Earlier this week, a delegation of FIFA experts visited Tehran to discuss the measures designed to allow women in the country to freely attend football matches. Iran has barred female spectators from entering the football stadiums since 1981, as clerics have been arguing that they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere.
Earlier this month, an Iranian woman, Sahar Khodayari, who was denied entry to the football stadium, passed away after setting herself on fire. Women are not allowed to watch football matches in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution however they can watch other sports like volleyball.
“What happened to Sahar Khodayari is heart-breaking. Her only ‘crime’ was being a woman in a country where women face discrimination that is entrenched in law and plays out in the most horrific ways imaginable in every area of their lives, even sports,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research and Advocacy Director, had said in an official statement.
“To our knowledge, Iran is the only country in the world that stops and punishes women seeking to enter football stadiums,” it added. Khodayari had appeared in a Tehran court, where the case was adjourned. She then poured gasoline on herself and lit herself on fire fearing the worst possible verdict.
Ever since the incident, Khodayari got dubbed as the “Blue Girl” on social media after the colours of her favourite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal.