Football - women in the stadium: Iran is under pressure because of a stadium ban
The words are clear, but Fifa has said so much more often: "We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure the freedom and security of all women involved in this legitimate struggle to end the stadium ban on women in Iran," shared the World Football Association under the impact of the tragic death of Iranian Sahar Khodayar.
The young woman, 29, had set herself on fire last week for threatening punishment and now succumbed to her injuries. Here you can read more about it.
Fifa's latest words are no longer enough for the protest movement in Iran. She calls on the World Federation to exclude the national team from all competitions, if the Iranian leadership should hold on to the stadium ban on women. According to Fifa statutes, discrimination against women is prohibited and must be sanctioned.
The Fall Sahar Khodayari
The World Association is said to have already called for the lifting of the 40-year ban on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. According to the Iranian Ministry of Sports, women are admitted to Cambodia for the next international match on 10 October. However, it is unclear whether this announcement really applies to all women and basically to the future. In the past, foreigners and small groups of women were allowed to watch certain international matches in the stadium - while others were arrested and charged.
So does Sahar Khodayari. The 29-year-old was on 2 September for public disorder and insult to the police in court to answer. Although the hearing has been postponed, Khodayari is said to have learned at the meeting that she faces up to six months imprisonment.
She had tried in March at a game of her favorite club Esteghlal Tehran in the Asian Champions League dressed as a man to get to Azadi Stadium. In response to the impending jail sentence, Khodayari lit in front of the courthouse and suffered severe burns.
Ali Karimi calls for a stadium boycott
The death of Khodayari causes horror. Iranian football idol Ali Karimi called on his 4.5 million Instagram followers to boycott the stadium. "The women of our country are better than the men," wrote the former Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 professional to a photo showing a woman with a football instead of a heart.
Iran's national team captain Masoud Shojaei also commented. "The self-immolation of a woman accused of watching a football game is the result of disgusting thinking and will be completely incomprehensible to future generations," wrote Shojaei on Instagram. His teammate Ashkan Dejagah called for a rethink. "When do you finally want to stop such things? Enough is enough," wrote the former Bundesliga player.
The case is also discussed internationally. The Swedish star soccer player Kosovare Asllani called on the Fifa to act. "Fifa, it's time to do something, you can not be quiet anymore." Her Swedish team-mate, Hedvig Lindahl (goalkeeper at VfL Wolfsburg), wrote on Twitter: "Fifa, it's overdue to do something for the women in Iran, that's not OK anymore." Support was also provided by British football legend Gary Lineker, who also took Fifa into duty.