Iranian soccer officials are accused of taking advantage of a sports policy allowing biological men to play on women’s teams if they believe they are women trapped in men’s bodies. The International Olympic Committee announced a policy allowing men to participate in Olympic events without undergoing sex change procedures.
Feminists complained that some countries would take advantage of the policies and replace their female athletes with men. Then the news broke that the Iranian soccer officials filled the women’s team with eight big, strong, fast men.
Iranian official, Mojtabi Sharifi, admitted that the men were waiting for sex change operations.
Soccer authorities reacted to the criticism by ordering all 8 men undergo gender testing to determine their levels of testosterone.
This isn’t the first time the Iranian women’s team has fielded men. There were rumors that the players were men in 2011 and random gender checks in 2014 revealed some of the ‘women’ were men. The problem is complicated by the Iranian culture which prohibits women from traveling unless they are given permission by their husbands or fathers.
Niloufar Ardalan was recently prevented from accompanying the soccer team to a game in Malaysia because her husband would not allow her to travel.
“As a Muslim woman, I wanted to work for my country’s flag to be raised [at the games], rather than traveling for leisure and fun,” Ardalan said.