Jordan requests gender confirmation of female Iran player, claims goalie is a man

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Jordan’s Football Association has petitioned a formal complaint to request a gender verification of an Iranian player after its women’s team lost to the Iranian team, casting doubt whether Iran’s goalkeeper is a man or a woman.

Former FIFA vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan shared the formal complaint letter filed by the JFA dated November 5, calling on the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to investigate the player in question.

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“Considering the evidence submitted by JFA and given the importance of this competition, we request the AFC to initiate a transparent and clear investigation by a panel of independent medical experts to investigate the eligibility of the player in question,” read the letter.

The player in question, Zohreh Koudaei, played in the goalkeeper’s position and helped Iran defeat Jordan in penalties, securing Tehran’s spot in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asia Cup. Koudaei has been questioned over her gender status, defending herself several times in Iranian newspapers in the past.

“The widespread talk about the goalkeeper’s gender is just an excuse not to accept defeat against Iranian women,” Maryam Irandoost the coach of the Iranian women’s team, was quoted as saying in statements carried by the Iranian Fars news agency.

“After the Jordanian team’s defeat, it was natural for them to try to calm themselves under false pretexts,” she added. “I want to confirm that before the start of our qualifying journey, we conducted the necessary tests, as the medical staff carefully examined each player in the national team so that we would not face any problem in this regard.”

Iran has in the past been accused of fielding male players on its women’s national team. In 2015, eight players in the Iran women’s football team were alleged to be men awaiting gender reassignment operations.

“[Eight players] have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations,” Mojtabi Sharifi, an official close to the Iranian league, said during an interview with the Iranian website Young Journalists Club at the time.

There were also claims that four players on the women’s team were men and in 2010 questions were raised about the gender of the national team’s goalkeeper.

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