Husband Bans Iran Women's Soccer Captain from Game

AFC captain takes to media, social networking to protest her husband's confiscation of her passport, legal under Sharia law.

Tova Dvorin ,

Muslim women (illustration)
Muslim women (illustration)
Flash 90

An Iranian champion soccer player has been banned from attending a major match this week, after her husband took her passport under the protection of Iran's Sharia Law. 

Niloufar Ardalan, 30, will remain at home as her teammates head to the Asian Football Federation Women's Futsal Championship, an indoor soccer tournament being held Sept 21- 26 in Malaysia. 

The reason: her husband, sports journalist Mehdi Toutounchi, wanted her home for her son's first day of school, Free Radio Europe reports. Mehdi is allowed to prevent her from traveling under Iranian law.

"I wish authorities would create [measures] that would allow female athletes to defend their rights in such situations," Ardalan stated to Nasimonline. "These games were very important to me. 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 has spoken to several press outlets about her case, championing a change for the rights of female athletes. The midfielder and Iranian national team captain, nicknamed "Lady Goal," related that special measures are taken in Iran to allow male athletes to circumvent military service to participate in matches abroad. 

She has also taken her cause to social media. On Tuesday, she posted a photo to Instagram with the caption ''I am only a national soldier who fights to raise the flag of our country.''

Toutounchi has not responded publicly to Ardalan's remarks. 

Despite reforms promised by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after his 2013 election, Iran has continued to enforce strict discriminatory policies against women. 

Earlier this month, Iranian chauvinism made headlines yet again, after Tehran promised to impound the cars of "improperly veiled" women.