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Goal difference

Jordan alleges Iran’s women’s soccer team goalkeeper is a man

Demanding probe, head of Jordanian association calls on Asian Football Confederation to ‘wake up’; Iran team selector says checks show Zohreh Koudaei is, in fact, a woman

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)
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)

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan has called on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to launch an investigation to determine the sex of a goalkeeper on the Iranian women’s soccer team, with Tehran denying foul play.

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.

The president of the Jordan Football Association, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, tweeted on Sunday a letter “requesting a gender verification check” on the Iranian player in question, suggesting that the keeper was a man posing as a woman.

Hussein described it as “a very serious issue, if true,” and called on the AFC to “please wake up.”

But Iran team’s selector, Maryam Irandoost, 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 Sunday.

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

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

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

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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