Fourteen players in the Iranian women's national football team have refused to participate in the second round of their training camp, claiming that the sports authorities was "indifferent to their concerns" and “insulting” toward them, local media reports.
Media reports cited "financial problems," "lack of facilities" and "insults to the dignity” of the team as reasons for the boycott of the training camp, which was scheduled to start on March 26.
Despite years of discrimination in Iranian women's football, the players’ move came as a surprise given the upcoming Paris Olympic qualifiers.
The Iranian team is set to compete against Myanmar, Maldives and Bangladesh in Group B.
The Official who Threatens Players
According to IranWire sources, football federation Vice President Maryam Monazami insulted members of Iran's women's national football team during a meeting with players on March 15.
Monazami allegedly used misogynistic language and insulted the players, saying that if it were up to her, she wouldn't have allowed some of them to attend the gathering.
She also made "inappropriate" comments about the players' personal relationships and said that their behavior went against Muslim values.
Monazami threatened to use private photos of the players to tarnish their reputations if they engaged in any political or social activities on social media platforms.
Monazemi ‘s Record
Football federation head Mehdi Taj picked Monazami to head Iranian women's football on February 22.
She had no prior experience or familiarity with women's football.
Monazami previously served as vice president of women's wrestling and weightlifting federations, and openly described herself as a representative and employee of the Ministry of Intelligence, as well as a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
On February 27, a member of the women’s national weightlifting team told IranWire that Monazami had become a nightmare for weightlifters during training camps.
According to the athlete, Monazemi “would call them to ask why they posted certain pictures [on their social media accounts] or about their relationships with men.”
On multiple occasions, she excluded women from training camps for not wearing a full head covering, according to a source interviewed by IranWire.
This source also said that Monazami threatened those expelled that she would publish their "naked" photos online if they criticized her in the media.