‘She supported us despite the politics made it illegal for her, but what we do can do to support her? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. We are cowards.’
That’s the passionate message from a Twitter TWTR, -2.27% account named after Esteghlal, “the most decorated club in Iran.”
The tweet was referring to Sahar Khodayari, a 29-year-old female Iranian soccer fan dubbed “Blue Girl,” who, according to the Guardian, died after setting herself on fire outside a courtroom. She was facing six months in prison for attempting to enter Tehran’s Azadi stadium and watch her favorite team.
Khodayari was apparently dressed up as a man, wearing a blue hairpiece and a long overcoat when the police apprehended her.
Before her death, FIFA had been urging Iran to change the rules and imposed a deadline this summer to lay out what steps were being taken to allow women to attend World Cup qualifiers, which will be held in the country next month.
“Whilst we are aware of the challenges and cultural sensitivities, we simply have to continue making progress here, not only because we owe it to women all over the world, but also because we have a responsibility to do so, under the most basic principles set out in the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA’s president wrote a letter obtained by the New York-based Centre for Human Rights in Iran.
Meanwhile, soccer players and many others from around the world voiced their outrage across social media in the wake of Khodayari’s death: