The Iranian “women’s” soccer team has found a loophole. Instead of comprising a team of actual women, they have added on eight full grown men who they claim are transgender and awaiting sex changes.
“The country’s football association was accused of being ‘unethical’ for knowingly fielding eight men in its women’s team,” reports The Telegraph.
“[Eight players] have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations,” said Mojtabi Sharifi, an official described as “close to the Iranian league.”
Members of the national team were ordered on Wednesday to undergo gender testing. Iran’s soccer governing body implemented random checks in 2014 after four women’s team players were discovered to be biological men who never underwent a sex change.
Players on the Iranian women’s team are mandated to wear long-sleeved jerseys, pants, and hijabs.
The names of those who reportedly tested as biologically male have not been disclosed, though we’re pretty sure you could make a decently accurate guess by glancing at the mugs in the team photo.
Shockingly, in Iran, sex changes are not only legal by fatwa, they are rampant. In fact, Iran takes a backseat only to Thailand when it comes to the number of sex change operations. This is mostly due to religious codes against homosexuality; gay people are often pressured into “transitioning” to avoid penalty of death if they were to act on their homosexuality.
“Iran is one of a handful of countries where homosexual acts are punishable by death,” explained a 2014 report from the BBC. “Clerics do, however accept the idea that a person may be trapped in a body of the wrong sex. So homosexuals can be pushed into having gender reassignment surgery – and to avoid it many flee the country.”
Speaking of oppression and intolerance, Iranian women are barred from entering stadiums to watch male teams compete, notes The Telegraph. Moreover, a captain on the women’s team was prohibited from playing in Malaysia because her husband refused to give her permission to fly.
“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,” said 30-year-old Niloufar Ardalan.
“I wish authorities would create [measures] that would allow female athletes to defend their rights in such situations,” she added.