September 10, 2019 – The death of Sahar Khodayari, a woman who set herself on fire in Tehran because she thought she would have to serve jail time for trying to watch a soccer match, has put the spotlight on the costs of a discriminatory state policy that Iranian women have been protesting for decades.
“This senseless tragedy should be a turning point for Iran’s government, which has been ignoring calls by its people to lift its discriminatory ban on women in stadiums, and is now facing the human costs of that policy,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“FIFA should not allow itself to be manipulated by Iran’s occasional relaxation of its ban on women to ward off domestic and international pressure,” said Ghaemi. “It should uphold its statues against discrimination once and for all.”
Khodayari, 29, reportedly died on September 10, 2019, in the intensive care unit of Tehran’s Motahari Hospital after setting herself on fire outside a courthouse in Tehran. Shortly afterwards, her sister told an Iranian press outlet that the authorities ignored documents presented by her family regarding her mental health status.
No More Empty Promises: FIFA Should Call on Iran to Lift Ban Once and For All