Footballers in Iran's professional women's league are to have mandatory gender tests to establish that they are fully female.
The country's football governing body is bringing in random checks after it was revealed that several leading players - including four in the national women's team - were either men who had not completed sex change operations, or were suffering from sexual development disorders. Sex change operations are legal in Iran according to a fatwa - or religious ruling - pronounced by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Ahmad Hashemian, the head of the Iranian football federation's medical committee, said the clubs were now obliged to carry out medical examinations to establish the gender of their players before signing them on contracts. Those unable to prove they were female would be barred from taking part until they had medical treatment, he said.