World News

Iran women's goalkeeper accused of being a man by Jordan FA

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Jordan have demanded an investigation
Jordan have demanded an investigation / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Jordan's women's national team have called for an investigation into whether Iranian goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei, who played against them in a Women's Asian Cup qualifier, is a man.

After the game - which took place on 25 September - finished goalless, Koudaei went on to save two penalties as the underdogs secured a 4-2 shoot-out win.

But rather than accept defeat, the president of Jordan's FA, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, has called for a "gender verification check" in a letter published on social media.

Maryam Iranddost, Iran's head coach, has fervently denied the allegations and instead pointed the finger at Jordan - who were favourites for the the match and missed out of Women's Asia Cup qualification as a result of the defeat - of simply looking for excuses.

“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 publication Varzesh 3 on Sunday.

She added: “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.

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

The matter will now be dealt with by the AFC, who issued a tight-lipped statement of their own in response to the dispute.

"The AFC does not comment on ongoing investigations and/or proceedings, whether actual or potential," a spokesperson said.

This is not the first time that Iran have been accused of fielding male players in their women's national team. In 2015, up to eight players were alleged to be men awaiting gender reassignment surgery, which is legal in the country.

Football is extremely popular among women in Iran, despite religion-orientated rules banning them from watching games involving men.