Genders tests after fears players in women's football team of Iran are in fact, men
Genders tests after fears players in women's football team of Iran are in fact, men Reuters

Tests are to be carried out on football players in Iran's women league to make sure they are not men in disguise.

Officials from the governing body of the sport in the Islamic state are to swoop unannounced on training grounds to carry out gender checks.

The move by the Iranian football Federation was unveiled after it emgered four players in Iran's national women's team were in fact male - or at least not fully fledged females. Doubts about the gender of some apparently female players in Iran have existed for a long time, with doubts raised about a goalkeeper back in 2010.

According to the state news agency in the Middle Eastern country, the guilty players were usually men in the process of undergoing a sex change, who prematurely claimed to be female before it was complete. The transformation takes around two years.

Under new rules, clubs will have to carry out gender tests themselves and players will be banned from women's football until they are legally female.

Women - or perhaps men, compete on the pitch for Iran against Jordan
The Iranian women's team on the pitch against Jordan Reuters

Football Federation chief Ahmad Hashemian said: "If these people can solve their problems through and be in a position to receive the necessary medical qualifications, they will then be able to participate in women's football."

The Telegraph reported that gender realignment surgery is mainstream in Iran, following a ruling – or fatwa, issued in favour of a practice by the founder of the Islamic state, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomein.

Women playing the sport in Iran have to follow a few rules which their opponents do not. The kit fully covers the body except for the face and also includes a niqab to cover the hair, in order to prevent the players from getting any male spectators too excited about anything unrelated to the sporting contest.