An ex-member of Iran’s women’s national football team and a top soccer player claims she has been banned from sports after being photographed without her hijab in a friendly match outside the country — and played alongside male players.
A garment which was made compulsory for women in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
In an interview with Masih Alinejad of the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, longtime player Shiva Amini said she was visiting Switzerland and Italy and “playing in friendly games” when the offense occurred. An innocuous photo snapped in Zurich that she posted on Instagram showed her heading a soccer ball and in the image, no veil was covering her hair and she was wearing shorts, another offense in the eyes of officials at the Iranian Futsal Federation, which oversees the women’s team. She’s been banned from playing or coaching in Iran’s domestic league.
Reacting after her ban, she said:
‘I never thought that I would one day be prevented from playing for my country because I appeared unveiled and was wearing a pair of shorts in a photo taken on a personal trip outside of Iran,’ the football star told My Stealthy Freedom women’s rights campaign.
According to her:’This was not even an official game. It seems that for the sports community in Iran, the veil carries greater importance than sport.”I don’t know what our country’s officials are trying to prove by suspending people like me whose primary pre-occupation is to give a better reputation to Iran,’ she added.
Amini 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, 2009 she moved into regional teams and coaching.