• Iranian Soccer Team

Iranian Soccer Team (Photo : Twitter)

Iranian sports officials have ordered members of the national national women's soccer team to undergo gender testing amid reports that eight of its members are men. The eight athletes were not named.

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According to Mojtabi Shraifi, a sports official, some of the players were men who benefitted from a career as female sportswomen. They would only admit their true gender when they retire from the sport, reports the Times of Israel.

However, it is difficult to determine by just looking who is male or female because of the hijab, long-sleeve jerseys and tracksuit pants team members wear.

Those with gender issues at men who had not complete the sex-change operations to become full women or females with sexual development disorders. In 2014, a similar question was raised about four members of the team, while it 2010, it was the goalkeeper's gender that was questioned, reports News.com.au.

In 2014, Ahmad Hashemian, head of the Iranian football federation's medical committee said it is the club's obligation to perform medical examinations on members of the team to establish their genders before the players are made to sign contracts. Those who could not prove they are women would be prohibited from playing in women's leagues until they go through medical exams, he explains.

The number of transgender women in the team is due to legalization of sex change surgeries in 1979 based on a fatwa issued by then Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the country's leader. Ironically, while sex changes are allowed, Iran imposes strict rules on gays and straight Iranians who indulge in premarital sex.