Iranian women's footballer banned from playing at Asian championships by husband

Niloufar Ardalan captains the country's women's futsal team

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The Independent Online

The captain of the Iranian women's futsal team will miss her side's apperance at the AFC Women's Futsal Championship because her husband will not allow her to travel.

Under Iranian law, married women must gain their spouse's permission before obtaining or renewing a passport.

Niloufar Ardalan, who captains her country's side, has been denied this permission by her husband and will now not be able to join her team-mates at the tournament in Malaysia.

“This is the first time such Asian championships are held and I had participated in all training camps by the national team,” she told Iran’s Nasim Online news agency. “But I will miss the tournament because my husband is opposed to me travelling abroad.”

Ardalan, who is nicknamed 'Lady Goal' and rated as the best female player in the country, has received support from those who oppose the law, particularly on social media platforms.

Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, a renowned figure from the country's revolution in 1979, said on Instagram: “What is her crime? Why can’t she accompany her team for Asian Cup and travel abroad?”

The country's cartoonists have also responded to the story, with Shahrokh Heydari depicting her playing in the field with one of her legs chained to the symbol of Mars.

Hope Solo, the goalkeeper of the United States' women's football team and major figure in the game, has also tweeted her support for Ardalan.

Iranian media have named Ardalan's as Mehdi Totounchi, a sports journalist and a presenter on Iran’s state TV. He reportedly wants her to be home for the start of the school year.

The inaugural tournament begins on Wednesday and runs until 23 September.

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