Iranian Female Soccer Fan 'Blue Girl' Dies After Setting Herself on Fire

Iran bans women from attending soccer matches in their home country

Iranian women were banned from attending men's football matches in the country in the wake of the Islamic revolution in 1979.

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

Shortly afterwards, she set herself on fire outside the court and has now died of her injuries in hospital.

Esteghlal issued a statement, offering condolences to Ms Khodayari's family.

Iranian authorities had said that she had resisted arrest after being identified as a woman by the morality police and "confronted them physically", a charge that her family have denied.

Reports indicated that Khodayari, who studied computer sciences, had attempted to take her life once before, at university. Her father said she had stopped taking medication a year ago.

She had disguised herself as a man, donning a blue hairpiece and long overcoat.

No verdict had been delivered in her case so far.

In this October 16, 2018 file photo, Iranian women cheer as they wave their country's flag after authorities in a rare move allowed a select group of women into Azadi stadium to watch a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, in Tehran, Iran.

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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 in protest at Khodayari's death.

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

"We are all responsible", Iranian lawmaker Parvaneh Salahshouri wrote on Twitter, saying that Khodayari "wasn't just the 'Blue Girl.' She was Iran's girl, from a country where men decide what women should or shouldn't do".

Her sister told Rokna that Sahar was "bipolar" and suffered from "a serious mental health condition" that was ignored and deteriorated due to her time in prison and stress of the imminent court case.

The stadium ban may is not written into law, but is "ruthlessly enforced", according to the organization.

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.

The team mourned Khodayari's death in a Monday tweet.

While a small number of Iranian women have attended select worldwide matches on previous occasions, others have faced prosecution for entering stadiums at other times.

"What happened to Sahar Khodayari is heart-breaking and exposes the impact of the Iranian authorities' appalling contempt for women's rights in the country", said Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director.

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