Fe­male player leaves Iran, hus­band over­ruled

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A fe­male Ira­nian foot­ball player whose hus­band barred her from trav­el­ling to a ma­jor tour­na­ment abroad has been al­lowed to leave the coun­try for other matches af­ter au­thor­i­ties stepped in.

Niloufar Ardalan, 30, who plays futsal-a form of five-a-side-missed the fi­nal of the Asian Cham­pi­onship in Malaysia in Septem­ber, which Iran ended up win­ning. Be­fore the tour­na­ment she had been cap­tain of the na­tional side but her hus­band, Me­hdi Tu­tunchi, a TV sports pre­sen­ter, en­forced his right un­der Is­lamic sharia law to ban his wife from leav­ing Iran. Ex­plain­ing his de­ci­sion, Tu­tunchi said the games co­in­cided with the couple’s seven-year-old son’s first day at school. How­ever Ardalan has since been granted a sin­gle exit visa by the ju­di­ciary that will al­low her to com­pete for her coun­try in a Futsal World Cup event in Gu­atemala from Novem­ber 24-29.

State tele­vi­sion’s most pop­u­lar foot­ball pro­gramme, “90” on Sun­day an­nounced Ardalan had left for Gu­atemala. “Niloufar Ardalan, ac­com­pa­nied Iran’s na­tional women futsal team to Gu­atemala. They are now in Mex­ico” wait­ing for their visas, the pro­gramme stated on its web­site.

“My pres­ence in the na­tional futsal team camp hap­pened be­cause of the pros­e­cu­tor’s per­mis­sion and I have a sin­gle exit per­mit” on my pass­port, Ardalan was quoted as say­ing. Un­der sharia law, in force since Iran’s Is­lamic revo­lu­tion in 1979, a court can over­rule a male guardian’s de­ci­sion re­lat­ing to a daugh­ter or wife.

“Niloufar Ardalan, who af­ter prob­lems with her hus­band missed the Asian cham­pi­onship matches, left the coun­try with­out gain­ing his con­sent,” the ju­di­ciary said on its news web­site. Ardalan had pre­vi­ously ap­pealed for a change to the law, that bars women from leav­ing home, let alone the coun­try, with­out per­mis­sion from their guardian.

“I wish au­thor­i­ties would pass a law for sportswomen so we can de­fend our rights in th­ese cir­cum­stances,” she told Iran’s NASIM news agency in Septem­ber. Just as Ira­nian men who have not com­pleted their mil­i­tary ser­vice get tem­po­rary per­mits to at­tend sport events abroad, “some­thing must be done for us women too,” she said.

TEHRAN: A file pic­ture taken on De­cem­ber 3, 2014 shows Ira­nian women’s foot­ball cap­tain Niloo­far Ardalan dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion in Tehran. Ardalan, whose hus­band barred her from trav­el­ling to a ma­jor tour­na­ment abroad, has been al­lowed to leave the coun­try for other matches af­ter au­thor­i­ties stepped in. — AFP

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