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Iranian soccer player misses tournament because her husband won’t allow her to travel

In this 2006 file photo, Berlin’s soccer team player, Valerie Assmann (right) fights for the ball in front of her unidentified teammate and Iranian women soccer team player, Niloufar Ardalan (left) during their friendly match at the Ararat stadium in Tehran, Iran. Iranian women’s soccer captain Ardalan reportedly will miss the Asian Cup tournament as her husband has confiscated her passport.
In this 2006 file photo, Berlin’s soccer team player, Valerie Assmann (right) fights for the ball in front of her unidentified teammate and Iranian women soccer team player, Niloufar Ardalan (left) during their friendly match at the Ararat stadium in Tehran, Iran. Iranian women’s soccer captain Ardalan reportedly will miss the Asian Cup tournament as her husband has confiscated her passport. The Associated Press

The Asian Football Confederation’s futsal championships begin Thursday in Malaysia.

That’s an indoor soccer tournament, and the Iranian team will be without one its top players because her husband won’t let her leave the country.

Niloufar Ardalan, who is known as “Lady Goal,” can’t join her team because Iranian law requires married women to have permission from their husband before traveling abroad. Her husband reportedly took her passport.

“This tournament was very important for me and as a Muslim woman I wanted to hold my country’s flag high, I wasn’t going there to have fun,” Ardalan told Iran’s Nasim Online news agency (via the Guardian). “I just wanted to fight for my national flag. The national team needs me but I’m not able to join them.”

The Guardian reported that Ardalan’s husband has been named by Iranian media as Mehdi Totounchi, a journalist and a presenter on Iran’s state TV. He reportedly wants her to be home for the start of the school year next week.

News.com.au reported that Ardalan has asked for the travel ban to be lifted.

“Boys have the issue of military service (which prevents those who have not completed their compulsory service from traveling abroad),” she told the newspaper Goal (via news.com.au). “A solution is found for them, and something should be done for women as well. What is the difference between us?”

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @pgrathoff.

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