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Iranian Female Referee Barred from International Matches

April 5, 2024
Payam Younesipour
2 min read
Ghorbani, an Iranian international football referee, was scheduled to serve as an assistant video referee (VAR) during the Tehran Derby on March 13
Ghorbani, an Iranian international football referee, was scheduled to serve as an assistant video referee (VAR) during the Tehran Derby on March 13
However, just two days before the match, officials informed the Football Federation that Ghorbani would not officiate
However, just two days before the match, officials informed the Football Federation that Ghorbani would not officiate

The name of Mehsa Ghorbani, an international referee for Iranian women's football, has been removed from the roster of active international referees since March, as reported by IranWire.

According to information obtained by IranWire from a reliable source within the Iranian Football Federation, the decision was made by security forces to bar her from leaving Iran.

According to FIFA guidelines, only referees nominated by their respective national football federations as active international referees are eligible to officiate official or friendly football matches in international competitions and beyond their country's borders.

Ghorbani, an Iranian international football referee, was scheduled to serve as an assistant video referee (VAR) during the Tehran Derby on March 13. 

However, just two days before the match, officials informed the Football Federation that Ghorbani would not officiate. 

According to IranWire's source, some federation directors were insulted by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) intelligence representative during a meeting about Ghorbani. 

They were threatened that failure to cooperate with the IRGC intelligence organization would result in facing security charges and the reopening of their legal cases.

IranWire's source disclosed that during the meeting with the IRGC intelligence representatives, Mehdi Taj, the president of the Football Federation, asserted that he had previously received final approval for including female referees in the derby from the Ministry of Sports and Youth on March 9.

“After the incidents during the Tehran derby, Mrs. Ghorbani's situation has largely gone unknown,” the source said. 

"Despite having received numerous commendations for her work with local referees, the federation has opted to remove her name from the roster of active international referees, effectively barring her from leaving the country to officiate matches," the source added.

Ghorbani was previously considered by FIFA as a potential referee for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

However, the Iranian Football Federation expressed concerns about her potential selection as one of the tournament's female referees. 

As a result, her participation in international tournaments was canceled.

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