Iran continues to be unfair to sportswomen, bans female footballer for playing without a hijab abroad
In Iran, hijab still takes precedence over everything else.
Iran has never been a pro-women country. Time and again they have shown that they care more about the hijab than the women of the country. While countries that follow stringent Islamic directives are very particular about women's dress codes, Iran always takes it one step forward.
Be it banning Iranian chess grandmaster for not wearing a hijab or imprisoning a female bodybuilder for posting photos of her workouts online, Iran is one country that takes hijab too seriously. Actually, they seem to be a country that is downright obsessed about women covering themselves with headscarves.
Iran's obsession with the headscarves has now cost the country another sportsperson. A female Iranian soccer star has been dropped from her country's national team for not wearing a hijab in a friendly match.
Shiva Amini was recently on a tour of Switzerland and Italy where she took part in an exhibition game alongside male players. Amini's offense was discovered after photographs of the match in the Swiss capital, Zurich were posted on Instagram.
The pictures showed her heading a soccer ball with no veil covering her hair, while wearing shorts, which is another offense in the eyes of officials at the Iranian Futsal Federation, which oversees the women's team.
In an interview with Masih Alinejad of the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, the player said that they were not even official games where she had to represent the Islamic Republic. "It seems that those games drew the ire of the officials within the Islamic Republic for two reasons. First of all, I happened to be unveiled and was wearing shorts. Secondly, I was playing with boys in a team."
She was told by the officials of the Iranian Futsal Federation that as she is the member of an official team, she isn't allowed to play football without the veil even in non-official games abroad.
"The officials of the Iranian Futsal Federation told me: We are living in Islamic country. Why did you have to play with boys? You would have been disqualified from the team even if you had played with boys wearing a veil in Iran as well," Amini added.
The player has devoted the last 13 years of life to her soccer career, four years of which she was a member of the national women's team. However, for Iranian authorities, the headscarf takes precedence.
And this isn't the first time the Iranian soccer team has faced static over the headscarf. In 2012, the Iranian women's team was barred by FIFA from competing in the Olympics because they were forced to wear the hijab.
It is unfortunate that talented sportswomen have to bear the brunt of Iran's moral policing and regressive diktats. If only Iran understood that sports is more important, covering one's head can take a back seat sometimes.