Iran's Women Soccer Players Told to Take Gender Tests

And a few have already failed, officials say

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 9, 2014 4:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Think mandatory PED testing in baseball is bad? Players in Iran's professional female soccer leagues will have to undergo gender tests to make sure they're really female, the Telegraph reports. The ruling comes after a few top players, including four on the national team, turned out to be men who had sexual development disorders or had undergone incomplete sex-change operations. "If these people can solve their problems through surgery ... they will then be able to participate" in women's soccer, said the top doctor in Iran's soccer committee.

Surprisingly, such surgical solutions are legal in Iran thanks to a fatwa, or religious ruling, by the Ayatollah Khomeini (homosexuality and pre-marital sex remain outlawed). So as it stands, medical examiners will show up by surprise at team practices, and soccer clubs have to medically examine all new players before they sign contracts. Seven players have already failed the tests, according to the IRNA state news agency. Women's soccer is wildly popular among Iranian women, who are still banned from attending men's soccer games despite an attempt last year to loosen the law, Sports Illustrated reports.

Iran's Jahanchi Masoomeh, in white, fights for the ball with Syria's Manar Monther during a soccer match at Amman Stadium, Jordan,  Monday Sept. 3, 2007.
Iran's Jahanchi Masoomeh, in white, fights for the ball with Syria's Manar Monther during a soccer match at Amman Stadium, Jordan, Monday Sept. 3, 2007.   (AP Photo/Mohammad abu Ghosh)
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