Iranian goalkeeper, Zohreh Koudaei has denied claims she’s a man after Jordanian FA accused her of not being a woman.
Koudaei, 32, saved two penalties in a 4-2 shoot-out victory over Jordan in Uzbekistan on September 25, helping the Iranian women’s team qualified for its first-ever Women’s Asia Cup.
But after the game, Jordan’s FA demanded ‘a gender verification check’ on Koudaei from the Asian Football Federation (AFC) over her performance.
Reacting to the claims, Koudaei today said emphatically: ‘I am a woman. This is bullying from Jordan.’
‘I will sue the Jordan FA,’ she added, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
The Jordan FA’s letter, dated November 5, cited doubts over the ‘eligibility of a participating player.’
It also alleged that the Iranian women’s team ‘has a history with gender and doping issues’, and called for ‘due process’ to be followed.
The President of Jordan’s FA, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, shared the letter on Saturday, calling it a ‘very serious issue if true’, and demanded that the AFC ‘please wake up’.
A spokesman for the AFC said: ‘The AFC does not comment on ongoing investigations and/or proceedings, whether actual or potential.’
The Iranian team manager denied the allegations, claiming that the Jordanian team, who were heavy favourites, were seeking an ‘excuse’ for losing the match.
Iran’s team coach, Maryam Irandoost, told sports news site Varzesh3 on Sunday: ‘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.’
The coach said that Koudaei had previously represented her country in Asian Cup qualifiers in 2008 and 2010.
‘We will provide any documentation that the Asian Confederation of Football wishes without wasting time,’ she added.
Irandoost said the accusation was being used to cover up for Jordan’s loss.
‘These allegations are just an excuse not to accept the defeat against the Iranian women’s national team,’ she said.
‘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.’