Niloufar Ardalan, also known as known as Lady Goal, was due to captain the Iranian women’s football team in the Asian Football Federation Women’s Football Championship, but was denied permission to attend the games by her husband.
Under the current Iranian law, married women need approval from their husbands to get their passports renewed. Ardalan, 30, became a victim of this law when she asked her husband Mehdi Toutounchi, who himself is a sports journalist, to sign important documents, only to get turned down.
Apparently, the reason he gave is that he wanted his wife to stay at home with their 7-year-old so she could be present for his first day at school, Fox News reported.
“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 told Nasimonline.
Adralan, who was set to travel to Malaysia for the six-day competition, is now requesting that sportswomen be exempt from the law and allowed to fulfill their responsibilities as a player.
“As a Muslim woman, I wanted to work for my country's flag to be raised (at the games), rather than traveling for leisure and fun,” she added.
This case has sparked debate in Iran, with some people saying it’s a personal family issue that should have been kept private, while others are questioning the rights of women around the world.
Adralan gained immense support from many people across the globe:
Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights ! Respect and support to Niloufar Ardalan #weareallniloufarardalan— MFiasca (@MFiasca) September 15, 2015
Toutounchi hasn't spoken publicly about the case.
Although Hassan Rouhani has served as the current Iranian president since 2013, he has not brought about any changes in the law yet, despite the fact that in 2012 lawmakers in Iran were actually considering altering the legislation hindering women’s mobility.
However in 2014, he did bolster the cause when he urged equals rights for men and women and condemned sexual discrimination.
A similar law is also observed in Saudi Arabia, but the country plans on implementing new travel regulations for females that will allow them to travel without the consent of a “mahram” (male guardian).