Sardar Pashaei, a former world wrestling champion and coach of Iran’s national wrestling teams, protested yesterday against the removal of Mahsa Ghorbani, Iran’s first female international football referee, from participating in the 2022 World Cup by publishing a photo of her on Twitter.
Mr. Pashaei wrote in his tweet: "Mahsa Ghorbani, Iran's first female international football referee, was excluded from participating in the World Cup because she did not observe the Islamic hijab and because her legs were a little exposed. Officials of the Iranian Football Federation took exception to this and decided to remove her [from the tournament].”
#مهسا_قربانی اولین داور بین المللی زن فوتبال ایران از حضور در مسابقات جام جهانی ۲۰۲۳ حذف شد. چرا که حجاب اسلامی را رعایت نکرده بود، چرا که پاهایش کمی لخت بود. چرا که مسولان فدراسیون فوتبال ایران، از زمان انتشار عکسهایش، کینه اش را بدل گرفتند و برنامه ریختند و حذفش کردند.. pic.twitter.com/UwhjAl9rNi— Sardar Pashaei (@sardar_pashaei) July 27, 2022
Neither the Iranian Football Federation nor Ghorbani have reacted publicly to the news. The status of female referees in Iran's women's football and futsal federations is caught up in managerial, financial and gender discrimination and affected by corruption within the Iranian Football Federation.
Iran’s female referees have previously encountered problems with mandatory hijab, financial issues, and have protested many times against this discrimination and other problems such as the low salaries for female referees. But in response the Iranian Football Federation has repeatedly threatened several of them, such as Mahsa Ghorbani, with removal from the referee rosters if their protests continued.