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Iranian athlete’s husband won’t let her travel to a tournament overseas

The story of a female Iranian athlete is making headlines today, after her husband banned her from travelling internationally.

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Captain of the Iranian national women’s soccer team, Niloufar Ardalan, will miss the upcoming Asian Football Federation Women’s Futsal Championship, held in Malaysia, because her husband, sports journalist Mahdi Toutounchi, has not given her permission to travel, the New York Post reports.

The reason Ardalan is missing the tournament is reportedly because of a domestic quarrel between herself and her husband — who reportedly wanted her to stay home so she could be there for their son’s first day of school.

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Under Iranian law, a husband can prevent his wife from travelling outside of the country, and the news of one of Iran’s most skilled athletes (nicknamed “Lady Goal”) now missing the tournament has reportedly sparked a debate in the country. It has also garnered interest on Twitter.

“My husband didn’t give me my passport so that I can (take part) in the games, and because of his opposition to my travel abroad, I [will] miss the matches,” Ardalan reportedly told Iranian publication Nasim Online, the Daily Mail reports. “I wish authorities would create (a solution) that would allow female athletes to defend their rights in such situations.

“As a Muslim woman, I wanted to work for my country’s flag to be raised (at the games), rather than travelling for leisure and fun,” she reportedly added.

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It’s a sensitive issue that highlights the challenges and cultural issues that female athletes across the globe still face. Ardalan’s story also touches on the patriarchal regulations that her country follows, which severely restrict women’s rights both legally and culturally.

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