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Voice of Unheard

Iran accused of Playing a Man as Goalkeeper in AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifier

Nov 18, 2021

The Iranian women’s football team is facing accusation from Jordan FA that a man was playing in the goal by them during their AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifier that the West Asian team won.

Jordan were the favourites ahead of the match but Iran qualified for the Asian Cup after a thrilling 4-2 win in the penalty shootout. Zohreh Koudaei was Iran’s saviour as she stopped two penalties in the shootout to take Iran to the win.

However, Jordan FA has accused her of being a man and has requested the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to launch an independent investigation into the same.

Jordan FA’s president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein posted the letter sent to the AFC, where they have requested for a ‘gender verification check’.

The letter states that while it is not mandatory for players to undergo gender verification, AFC can investigate in case there is a doubt over the eligibility of a player.

The letter talks about “evidence submitted by the JFA” and “given the importance of this competition”, the JFA asked for an independent and transparent investigation into the eligibility of Koudaei.

The letter also suggested that “Iranian Women’s Football team has a history with gender and doping issues.”

Over the years, Koudaei has defended herself over the issue a number of times. Ali bin al-Hussein wrote along with the letter, “It’s a very serious issue if true. Please wake up AFC.”

However, Iranian team selector Maryam Irandoost has rubbished the allegations and said the fans have nothing to worry about.

“The medical staff have carefully examined each player on the national team in terms of hormones to avoid any problems in this regard, and so I tell all fans not to worry,” Irandoost told news site Varzesh3.

We will provide any documentation that the Asian Confederation of Football wishes without wasting time. These allegations are just an excuse not to accept the defeat against the Iranian women’s national team. The Jordanian team considered themselves the big favourite to qualify… and when they lost… it was natural to seek relief under false pretences and to escape responsibility for this failure.”

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