Sahar Khodayari, Iranian Soccer Fan, Dies After Setting Herself on Fire

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2019

SANDY, UT - MAY 24: Generic action of a soccer ball being kicked during the game between FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium May 24, 2014 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian woman who set herself on fire after she was detained for dressing as a man to get into a football stadium, died on Monday as a result of her injuries.

According to local media (h/t AP's Jon Gambrell), the 29-year-old set herself on fire on September 2 in front of a courthouse. She was facing a prison sentence of six months, according to her father.

Per the report, Khodayari was a fan of local club Esteghlal and would disguise herself in a blue wig to watch their matches, earning the nickname Blue Girl. She was detained after an altercation during Esteghlal's AFC Champions League match against Al Ain, from the UAE, in March.

Her sister told Persian language newspaper Shahrvand she had been suffering from bipolar disorder. According to her father, she had not been taking her medication for a year.

Women are banned from attending men's football matches in the country, despite repeated calls from FIFA to allow them to attend. AS Roma called on authorities to overturn the ban after learning of Khodayari's death:

Women were allowed to attend the Asian Champions League final in November of last year, but the ban continues to be enforced for local matches.

Former Esteghlal player Andranik Teymourian, who collected more than 100 caps for the Iranian national team, urged authorities to rename one of Tehran's major stadiums in Khodayari's honour, per Gambrell.

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