A soccer player from Iran's women's team at a qualifying match for the 2012 London Olympics..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Soccer players in Iran's professional women's' league will be required to undergo mandatory gender tests to determine that they are fully female.
The Iranian soccer federation's ruling came in the wake of revelations that several leading players in the league were men who either had sexual development disorders or had not completed gender reassignment surgery.
Seven matches have been suspended due to the presence of women's league players, who wear full-body uniforms, with undetermined female sex, Iran's IRNA news agency last week cited Ahmad Hashemian, chairman of the federation's medical committee as saying.
According to a fatwa, an Islamic legal pronouncement, sex reassignment surgery is allowed in Iran.
Under the guidelines, medical examiners will arrive unannounced to training sessions to subject athletes to checks in order to establish their sex.
Examinations will also be given to players in the Islamic Republic's indoor league, along with prospective players before they sign to teams.
"If these people can solve their problems through surgery and be in a position to receive the necessary medical qualifications" then their participation in women's soccer clubs will be permitted, Hashemian told IRNA.
Those athletes without complete medical records designating them as female will be barred from the league.
The Iranian national team was disqualified from the 2012 London Olympics in light of their Islamic head coverings, which were required by the Islamic Republic, but did not meet FIFA guidelines that an individual's neck and ears must be visible.