In Summary
  • Sahar Khodayari, 30, was reportedly arrested early last year when she tried to enter a stadium in Tehran dressed as a man to watch her favourite team, Esteghlal FC.
  • Dubbed "blue girl" because of the club's colours, she set herself on fire outside a court last week after being told she would be jailed for six months, various media outlets said.

TEHRAN

An Iranian football fan who set herself ablaze and died after being arrested for trying to defy a ban on women in stadiums was ill with a "neurological disorder", her father said.

Sahar Khodayari, 30, was reportedly arrested early last year when she tried to enter a stadium in Tehran dressed as a man to watch her favourite team, Esteghlal FC.

Dubbed "blue girl" because of the club's colours, she set herself on fire outside a court last week after being told she would be jailed for six months, various media outlets said.

"My daughter had a neurological disorder and that day she became very angry, insulting and fought with law enforcement officers," her father Heidar Ali Khodayari said, quoted by Mehr news agency late Tuesday.

Iran has barred Iranian women spectators from football and other stadiums since 1981, with clerics arguing they must be protected from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men.

The judiciary said a young woman had been arrested when she tried to enter a stadium and faced charges of offending "public chastity and insulting" law enforcement officers.

It said no sentence had been issued against her since there had been no trial and the judge was away on leave.

Khodayari's death sparked outrage on social media, with many celebrities, soccer players and activists using the hashtag #blue_girl to call on FIFA to ban Iran from international competitions and fans to boycott matches.

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