Zohreh Koudaei, the Iranian women’s team goalkeeper, has threatened to sue the Jordan Football Association over accusations that she is a man.
The accusations were made against Koudaei following Iran’s victory against Jordan in September.
The two sides played a qualifying match for the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup, scheduled to be held in India in January, with Iran triumphing in a penalty shoot-out.
Koudaei made two excellent saves in the shoot-out, helping Iran earn a place at the Women’s Asian Cup for the first time in the country’s history.
Jordan Football Association President Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein revealed on Twitter he had submitted a “gender verification check” for Koudaei in September, and now wished for an official investigation into the matter.
Koudaei has hit back at the accusation and threatened to sue the Jordan FA.
“I am a woman,” she told Turkish publication Hurriyet. “This is bullying from Jordan. I will sue the Jordan FA.”
Iranian officials had already rejected the calls from the Jordan Football Association to have Koudaei’s sex investigated.
“The medical staff have 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,” head coach Maryam Irandoost told Iranian sports news website Varzesh3.
“We will provide any documentation that the Asian Confederation of Football wishes without wasting time.”
Prince Ali called for a “transparent and clear investigation by a panel of independent medical experts” into Koudaei’s sex.
He also claimed Iran has a “history with gender and doping issues”, likely referring to allegations made in 2015 by Mojtabi Sharifi, an official working closely with the Iranian league.
Sharifi claimed eight members of Iran’s women’s football team were actually men awaiting sex change operations, but these allegations were never proven to be true.
After publishing the letter, Prince Ali, a former FIFA vice-president, commented: “It’s a very serious issue if true.”
“Please wake up @theafcdotcom,” he added, tagging the AFC’s Twitter account.
According to the Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya, Koudaei has been forced to defend herself from questions over her gender several times in the past.