Eight of Iran’s female football team ‘not fully women’

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Iran’s national women’s team has come under fire this week after it emerged that eight players of the group were not females, according to Al Arabiya News Channel’s Arabic language website.

“Eight players have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations,” Mojtabi Sharifi, an official close to the Iranian league, said during an interview with the Iranian website Young Journalists Club. The proportion of players in the team who were born men was not known.

In 2014, it was reported by UK paper The Telegraph that four footballers from Iran’s national women’s team were men. Sharifi, who did not mention the name of the players, but said that some of them have played as men their entire career but only revealed their gender on the last day of their duty.

He added that Iran’s football governing body was entirely responsible for the scandal which he described as “unethical”

The country’s football governing body did not react to Sharifi’s comments.

Doubts regarding the gender of some apparently female players in Iran have existed for a long time, with suspicions raised about a goalkeeper back in 2010.