Iranian Football Federation (FFIRI) has been branded as ‘unethical’ after eight members of their women national football team were alleged to be men awaiting sex change operations.
The issue came out following a claim from Mojtabi Sharifi, an official close to the Iranian league, which later made the authorities reportedly ordered gender testing on Wednesday, couple of days after the country won inaugural champions of the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship.
“Eight players have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations,” he told Al Arabiya News Channel.
The Iranian women’s team play in hijab headscarfs, long-sleeved tops and tracksuit bottoms and it was not the first time the West Asian nation to face the similar issue about the gender of their female squad.
In 2010, doubts began to surface over the legitimacy of some of the players when the gender of a goalkeeper in the squad was questioned.
Gender change operations are legal and reportedly common in Iran, despite the fact that Sharia legal code in the country prohibits homosexuality and pre-marital sex.
Football is highly popular among many Iranian women, despite there is a fatwa – Islamic religious rules – that ban them from entering stadiums to watch matches between male football teams.