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Iran’s women soccer goalie to sue Jordan for suggesting she’s a man

Zohreh Koudaei says Jordan ‘questioning her femininity,’ condemns ‘crude and inappropriate’ allegation; she helped her team qualify for the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup

People walk past a large poster of Iranian goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei in the capital Tehran, on November 19, 2021.  (AFP)
People walk past a large poster of Iranian goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei in the capital Tehran, on November 19, 2021. (AFP)

The goalkeeper on the Iranian women’s soccer team announced she will sue the Jordan Football [soccer] Association over its calls to investigate her sex after her team beat out the Hashemite kingdom to qualify for the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup, according to a Friday report.

Zohreh Koudaei denied the accusations and said she would sue for harassment, saying Jordan was “questioning her femininity,” the London-based Arabi 21 news site reported.

The president of the Jordan Football Association, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, tweeted last week a letter “requesting a gender verification check” on Koudaei, suggesting that the goalkeeper was a man posing as a woman.

Koudaei said Jordan’s request and the subsequent spread of the allegations in the media was “crude and inappropriate, reaching the point of bullying.”

Iran beat Jordan 4-2 on penalties after a goalless draw on September 25 to qualify for the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup for the first time in its history.

Koudaei blocked two goal attempts by the Jordanian team, resulting in Iran’s qualification.

Iran team’s selector, Maryam Irandoost, also dismissed the allegation.

“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 sports news site Varzesh3 on last week.

Screen capture from video of Iran’s goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei during the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 Qualifiers against Jordan, September 25, 2021. (Twitter)

“We will provide any documentation that the Asian Confederation of Football wishes without wasting time.”

The Jordan Football Association’s letter, dated November 5, cited doubts over the “eligibility of a participating player.”

A man walks past a large poster of Iranian goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei in the capital Tehran, on November 19, 2021. (AFP)

It also alleged that the Iranian women’s team “has a history with gender and doping issues,” and called for “due process” to be followed.

Irandoost said the accusation was being used to cover up for Jordan’s loss.

“These allegations are just an excuse not to accept the defeat against the Iranian women’s national team,” she said.

“The Jordanian team considered themselves the big favorite to qualify… and when they lost… it was natural to seek relief under false pretenses, and to escape responsibility for this failure.”

The 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup is set to kick off in India in January.

Iranian men playing as women has plagued the female leagues in the past. In 2014, the Telegraph reported that mandatory gender-testing was to be implemented after several players — including four in the women’s national team — were discovered to be men who had not yet undergone sexual reassignment surgery.

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