Episode
October 1, 2019

Iran: Will death of 'blue girl' end stadium ban for women?

Football fan's death by self-immolation has prompted calls to allow Iranian women to attend sporting events.
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On Tuesday, October 1 at 19:30 GMT:
In Iran, a female football fan's death by self-immolation has prompted calls to end a ban on women entering stadiums. On September 2, 29-year-old Sahar Khodayari set herself on fire in front of a courthouse after learning she could face prison time following her attempt to enter Tehran's Azadi stadium back in March. She died from her injuries a week later. On social media, Khodayari has been dubbed the #BlueGirl after the colour of her favourite team, Esteghlal FC.

Iranian women have been banned from attending sporting matches since 1981, although temporary exceptions have been made for women to watch select matches for Iran's national football team. The country's religious leaders argue that the ban is to protect women from a sometimes vulgar and rowdy atmosphere during sporting events.

But Iranian women and girls have long defied the measure by donning fake beards and dressing as men and boys. Those who get caught have been arrested or faced police brutality.

Following Khodayari's death, Iran announced that women would be allowed to attend the October 10 World Cup qualifying match between Iran and Cambodia. Those who support a complete lifting of the stadium ban say the government's actions are not enough and have also criticised FIFA, football's international governing body, for its lack of disciplinary action against Iran's discriminatory policies towards fans.

In this episode, we'll learn more about the debate surrounding the stadium entry ban and how some female fans continue to fight against it. Join the conversation.
 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 

 

“Sara,” @openStadiums
Spokesperson of Open Stadiums

 

Shireen Ahmed, @_shireenahmed_
Co-Host of Burn It All Down
shireenahmed.com

 

Jasmin Ramsey, @JasminRamsey
Communications director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran
iranhumanrights.org

 

Read more:
FIFA: Iran 'assures' women can attend World Cup qualifier - Al Jazeera
'Blue girl': Iran's football fan, denied stadium entry, dies - Al Jazeera

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