One of Iran's best female soccer players reportedly won't compete in an upcoming international tournament because her husband -- citing Islamic law -- isn't letting her travel abroad, instead insisting she stay home and take care of their child.
Niloufar Ardalan -- known as "Lady Goal" for her on-field triumphs and athletic prowess -- told the Iranian website Nasimonline that she won't be playing in the Asian Football Federation Women's Futsal Championship because her husband hasn't given permission for her to travel outside Iran.
Islamic laws enforced in Iran dictate that a married woman must have her spouse's permission to obtain or renew a passport.
The 30-year-old Ardalan, who has captained Iran's national team, had hoped to participate in the futsal championship -- an indoor version of the sport to be held Sept. 21-26 in the Malaysian town of Nilai, according to Radio Free Europe.
"But my husband didn't give me my passport so that I can [participate] in the games, and because of his opposition to my travel abroad, I [will] miss the matches," Ardalan told Nasimonline in an interview Friday.
"I wish authorities would create [measures] that would allow female athletes to defend their rights in such situations," the website quoted Ardalan as saying. "These games were very important to me. 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."
According to Iranian media, Ardalan said her passport expired and that her husband -- sports journalist Mehdi Toutounchi -- will not sign the paperwork necessary to renew it. Toutounchi reportedly refused because he wants Ardalan to be at home for her 7-year-old son's first day of school on Sept. 23 -- though the man has not publicly responded to his wife's remarks.
Ardalan, meanwhile, is calling for such travel restrictions on female athletes to be lifted in Iran.
"Boys have the issue of military service [which prevents those who have not completed their compulsory service from traveling abroad]. A solution is found for them, and something should be done for women as well," she told the daily sports newspaper Goal. "What is the difference between us?"