After eight months of hard
training, the Iranian women’s football team marched on to the pitch for a
key match in Amman, Jordan. They had their sights set on the 2012
Olympics, and the June 3 game was crucial for advancement. The players
wore a conservative uniform in line with Muslim tradition: long-sleeved
shirts, long pants, and headscarves.
The national anthems played. Then,
an unexpected announcement from the referee: the Iranian uniforms didn’t
meet FIFA regulations, and so the team couldn’t compete in the match.
Several Iranian players fell to their knees in disbelief and began
weeping. The disqualification had squashed their Olympic dreams. “We
were shocked and upset,” team captain Niloofar Ardalan said to NEWSWEEK.
“We couldn’t mask our disappointment.”
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