Iran's fans hold up a banner reading "Let Iranian women enter theirs stadiums" at 2018 World Cup match between Morocco and Iran at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 15, 2018.Image copyright
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Iranian football fans have been campaigning for some time to stop the ban on female spectators

An Iranian female football fan who set herself on fire a week ago has died.

The woman set herself alight in Tehran after her trial, for attempting to enter a football stadium disguised as a man, was postponed.

The authorities in Iran regularly stop women from entering stadiums.

Her story has been followed closely by Iranians around the world who used the hashtag “blue girl” – a reference to the colours of her favourite team, Esteqlal of Tehran.

The woman, referred to as Sahar, which is not her real name, was arrested in March when she tried to enter a football stadium.

After being jailed for three days she was released on bail and waited six months for her court case.

But when she appeared at court she found out it had been postponed because the judge had a family emergency.

She later returned to court to pick up her mobile phone and it is widely reported that she is thought to have overheard someone saying that if she were convicted she could get six months to two years in prison.

She then set herself alight in front of the court house and later died in hospital.

Her actions led to a lot of debate in Iran.

Masoud Shojaei, the captain of the Iran men’s football team, condemned the prison sentence in a Persian-language post on an Instagram story.

“Without a doubt the self-immolation of a girl today after the extension of her custody on the charge of trying to enter a stadium to watch football is rooted in outdated and cringe-worthy thoughts that will not be understood by future generations,” he wrote.

Football’s governing body Fifa set a deadline of 31 August for Iran to allow women into stadiums – something the country has not kept.

While the sporting ban is not written into law, it is “ruthlessly enforced says Human Rights Watch.



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