(Persia Digest) – The death of a young girl who tried to get into a football stadium to watch the match has entailed many reactions in Iran. She was arrested, sentenced to six months in prison, and died after self-immolation.
Persia Digest (PD) reports that 29-year old Sahar Khodayar who came to be known as the “blue girl” for the color of the jerseys worn by her favorite team had tried to enter the stadium disguised as a man to support her team. But she was spotted by the police and arrested after clashes. Her case was referred to the courts where she was informed that the judge is on leave, whereby she set herself on fire. Sahar was a fan of the Esteghlal FC who wear blue uniforms. She died of her wounds in hospital.
The tragedy entailed many reactions in Iran. The government spokesperson announced that the government is in favor of women entering stadiums and that necessary measures have been taken according to the Minister of Sport, such as separate seating areas and sanitary facilities in all stadiums. Ali Rabiei added: “Women can attend all national matches. We are moving towards allowing them to watch league matches as well.”
But the Iranian President’s Chief of Staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, in contrast to the statement by the government spokesperson said: “Under the present conditions when fan swear at each other and get into fights, allowing women into stadiums is not proper.”
Female Vice Presient for legal affairs, Laya Joneidi, also reacted to Sahar’s case, saying: “The presence of women in stadiums is not banned by law and the government supports it.”
Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Azari-Jahromi, posted a message on his Instagram about remaining silent, saying: “It is not my job to take sides. We are pursuing this bitter tragedy in the cabinet.”
MP Ali Motahari also reacted by tweeting: “Arresting Sahar was wrong. Such collisions will not safeguard the establishment.”
Veteran journalist, Abbas Abdi, reacted by writing: “The key issue is not for this girl or other young people to watch a football match in a stadium. The key issue is the discrimination they feel. They see all manner of corruption and bad management and realize that harsh laws are only for them.”
Esteghlal and Persepolis football clubs are state-owned. They exchanged messages of condolences for the death of the “blue girl”. But the privately-owned Tractor-Sazi club sent their condolences adding: “Sacrificing your life to achieve your goals and the love for football is a valuable gesture worthy of contemplation. We hope Iranian football will progress in such a way that families can attend the stadiums in a healthy environment.”
It must be noted that Shahrvand newspaper in Tehran quoted Sahar’s family by saying that she suffered from ADHD and had attempted suicide once before.
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