President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, and the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. (Image via TRT World)

Struggling for women's right to enter stadium, FIFA sends delegation to Iran

On Thursday (19/9), President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, stated demand for Iran to let women enter its soccer stadium to watch men’s soccer competition. Expressing its seriousness for equality and rights, FIFA decided to send its delegation to visit Tehran on Friday (20/9).

In an official statement by the FIFA president, Infantino refers to the women’s ban as “unacceptable”. Furthermore, Infantino asserted his statement that FIFA’s position is “firm and clear” for the women to be allowed to enter the stadium.

The cry for equality came after the death of a 29-year-old female soccer fan in Iran, Sahar Khodayari, also known as the “Blue Girl”. She was found guilty of dressing like a man, committing a “sinful act” without her ‘hijab”, to enter the stadium in March, intending to watch her beloved team, Esteghlal FC. At that time, Esteghlal FC was facing Al-Ain FC in the AFC Champions League bout.

After she had attended the court on 2 September, she soaked herself with gasoline and burned herself alive. Despite being hospitalized in Motahhari Hospital, Khodayari died on 9 September due to third-degree burns on 90% of her body and severe lung damage.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution marked by the fall of the previous Iranian monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran started to ban women from entering stadium to watch men’s soccer matches.