00:05 GMT04 August 2021
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    All players on Iran’s national women football team are women, Iranian sport journalist Mostafa Shougi told Sputnik, rejecting Daily Mail and Al-Arabiya reports about eight male players who snuck into the women’s squad.

    Daily Mail reported about eight men playing on Iran's national women's team. According to the British tabloid, the men were awaiting sex swap operations.

    "Eight players have been playing with Iran's female team without completing sex change operations," Daily Mail reported.

    Turns out, Daily Mail spread wrong information. The story about men on the women's squad was invented in 2008 by Al-Arabiya and Daily Mail decided to bring in back again on Thursday.

    "Iran's national women's mini-football team is a young team that recently won the Asian Cup. All members of the team are respected athletes and beautiful women, one can see it with the naked eye," Shougi told Sputnik.

    Iranian women's football captain Niloofar Ardalan (C) speaking with her teammates during a practice session in Tehran. (File)
    © AFP 2021 / AMIR KHOLOOSI
    Iranian women's football captain Niloofar Ardalan (C) speaking with her teammates during a practice session in Tehran. (File)

    The journalist praised the superior skill of his country's team during Asian Cup games and stressed that their victory was clean, without any gender-based falsifications.

    Following the gender-scandal in 2008, when Al-Arabiya invented a hoax reporting that some members of Iran's women squad were men, the Iranian Football Federation started a thorough investigation, including a series of gender tests done on players. The investigation showed that all members of the country's women squad were females and Al-Arabiya reports were false, the Iranian journalist said.

    This story isn't an exception. Lies and false rumors surround the realm of women's football and this isn't the first time when a country faced similar accusations. Both FIFA and International Olympic Committee (IOC) closely monitor and perform thorough medical tests, making sure to keep men and women apart from each other when it comes to playing football on the international level, Shougi said.

    Football is a very popular game in Iran, both among men and women.


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    Iran, Daily Mail, FIFA, false report, women's football, men, sex change
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