Zohreh Koudaei, Iran women’s soccer goalie, accused of being man

The Jordan Football Association (JFA) has accused the goalkeeper for the Iran women’s soccer team of being a man.

Zohreh Koudaei, 32, has since responded to the JFA’s request for a “gender verification check.”

“I will sue the Jordan FA,” Koudaei said according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. “I am a woman. This is bullying from Jordan.”

The allegation came after Iran beat Jordan in Uzbekistan on Sept. 25, to qualify for its first ever Women’s Asia Cup. Koudaei saved two penalties in the 4-2 shootout victory.

A team manager for Iran denied the gender allegation and said the Jordanian team was looking for an “excuse” for losing the match. 

Zohreh Koudaei makes a save against Jordan
Zohreh Koudaei makes a save against Jordan
Getty Images

After the game, the JFA reportedly approached the Asian Football Federation (AFC) about Koudaei’s gender.

In a letter dated Nov. 5, the JFA cited doubts over the “eligibility of a participating player” and claimed the Iranian women’s team “has a history with gender and doping issues.”

The JFA requested for the AFC to “initiate a transparent and clear investigation by a panel of independent medical experts to investigate the eligibility of the player in question and others on the team.”

The President of the JFA, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, addressed the letter in a tweet on Saturday, calling the allegations a “very serious issue if true.” He also called on the AFC to “please wake up.”

A spokesman for the AFC said, “The AFC does not comment on ongoing investigations and/or proceedings, whether actual or potential.”

Iran’s coach, Maryam Irandoost, told sports outlet Varzesh3 (via Hurriyet) that the team’s medical staff has “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 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup will begin in January in India.