News broke that Ardalan, nicknamed Lady Goal, would not be traveling to Malaysia for the Asian Cup, which begins today. Ms Ardalan’s husband reportedly wanted her to be home for their son’s first day of school.
Niloufar Ardalan’s partner, the sports reporter Mahdi Toutounchi, confiscated her passport after a domestic row. Under Islamic law in Iran, husbands can stop their wives from traveling outside of the country.
In an Instagram post yesterday, the 30-year-old acknowledged she would be missing the tournament – and called for her country to change its laws governing married women’s travel.She said: “I am only a national soldier who fights to raise flag of our country. I wish a law would be approved that allows female soldiers to fight for raising the flag.”
Women’s sports largely disappeared after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Over time, however, they have gained popularity, especially football.
Social customs still come into the game though, as the country’s soccer team plays its games with players’ hair covered by hijabs.
Two Islamic countries make the headscarf mandatory for women in public – Iran and Saudi Arabia. FIFA overturned a yearlong ban against players wearing hijabs in 2012.
It would seem that the good old Islamic traditions of subjugating women, misogyny, gender discrimination, control and abuse of women continue on their merry way in that bastion of fair play that is Iran.