Iranian Women’s Football Team Accused of Using a Man as a Goalkeeper

Following a penalty shootout to their Iranian rivals in a women’s football match, Jordanian officials have called on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to launch an investigation to determine the sex of the Iranian team’s goalkeeper.

On September 25, following a goalless draw, the Iranian and Jordanian women’s football teams went to a penalty shootout to determine who would qualify to the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup. The Jordanians were heavy favorites to win the game, but the opposing goalkeeper had other plans. Zohreh Koudae saved two penalties, securing her team’s 4-2 shootout victory, and the national team’s first-ever appearance at the Women’s Asian Cup. Only the story doesn’t end here. Jordanian officials have since called on the Asian Football Confederation to investigate whether the Iranian goalkeeper is actually a woman.

Photo: Rhett Lewis/Unsplash

The President of Jordan’s Football Association, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, recently tweeted an official letter to the AFC requesting a gender verification check on Zohreh Koudae, suggesting that the keeper was a man posing as a woman. Jordan alleged that Iran has a history of gender and doping issues and demanded that the AFC “please wake up”.


Iranian officials, on the other hand, dismissed the allegations regarding Koudae’s gender as bad sportsmanship and a simple excuse for losing a match in which Jordan was the heavy favorite. The women’s football team coach, Maryam Irandoost, told fans not to worry, as the accusations don’t have any legs to stand on.


“The medical staff has 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 said. “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.”


According to Al Arabiya, Iran has been accused of using male players in its women’s football team before. Questions were raised about the gender of the national team’s goalkeeper in 2010 as well, and in 2015, no less than eight players in the Iran women’s football team were alleged to be men waiting to get gender reassignment operations.

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