Iranian women have been prohibited from entering stadiums since early 1980s [Raheb Homavandi-Reuters]

In the wake of the ‘Blue girl’ incident where a woman killed herself after being arrested trying to access a football stadium a FIFA delegation has demanded Iran allow women free unlimited access to stadiums.

FIFA travelled to Iran ahead of the weekend for talks on the matter of women and football and released a statement Sunday.

“FIFA has reiterated its firm and clear position that women need to be allowed to enter football matches freely and that the number of women who attend the stadiums be determined by the demand, resulting in ticket sales,” it said.

The Islamic republic has barred female 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.

Sahar Khodayari, dubbed “blue girl” because of the colours of the team she supported, Esteghlal FC, was reportedly detained last year when trying to enter a stadium dressed as a man to watch them.

She died of her injuries in a Tehran hospital after setting herself on fire outside a court in early September.

The death of Khodayari sparked an outcry online, with many calling on world football’s governing body FIFA to ban Iran from international competitions and for fans to boycott matches.

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