Sex Checks for Soccer Chicks

Did you hear the one about the Iranian women's national soccer team? Turns out, four of its top players were really men, so now everyone in their pro league has to undergo a mandatory sex check to confirm they are in fact female.

The punchline? Well, the punchline is, I'm not joking. According to the Telegraph:

"Medical examiners will turn up unannounced at training sessions of teams playing in Iran's women's premier league, as well as those playing in the indoor league, known as footsal."

The goal of these random exams? Yup, to establish each athlete's gender. Apparently, thanks to the Iranian Football Federation's new sex testing rule, seven players have already been booted from the league for "playing for the wrong team."

So. My. God.

Back when I played soccer in college, we weren't even allowed to use the same field as the men's team. We had to take a bus into town to use the municipal green. And that was after Title IX had been passed, supposedly guaranteeing equality in sports. Now, we've got men willingly (albeit secretly) coming over to play on our side? We have come a long way, baby.

But here's what I really want to know...what exactly does a random sex check consist of? Is it a simple visual scan, with players pulling down their pants and lifting up their shirts? Or is it more hands-on? Like, they take a few grabs, then they ask you to cough?

If I was a female footballer in Iran, being subjected to that kind of exam would make me feel pretty violated.

But I'm guessing DNA sampling would be way too expensive – after all, women's professional soccer is already an underfunded sport. Here in the U.S., when they tried to popularize a women's pro league, they could barely get enough fans to fill a bathtub, let alone a stadium.

So I started to think of other less offensive, non-invasive methods the Iranian medical examiners could use to establish each soccer player's gender. Stuff that wouldn't cost the league a dime.

Like, have everyone on the team do a load of laundry. If anyone mixes their colors with whites or shrinks their game shirt down to a toddler size onesie, it's a giveaway: she might be a he.

Invite players to gossip about their teammates. Failure to be sufficiently catty or bitchy? Another gimme.

Or, get everyone to talk about their feelings. Any "girl" who's incapable of uttering more than five syllables is totally a ringer.

They could take everyone for a spin on the team bus and get really lost, then see who's willing to stop and ask for directions.

And don't forget the remote control test. See who treats channel surfing like a sport, pausing for five minutes on every single station from two to a hundred, watching TV for over an hour but never finishing a show. Yup, if that happens, you know Gertrude's a dude.

Why not quiz each soccer player on her choice in feminine sanitary products: Kotex vs. Tampax? Scent strips or wings? Or ask everyone to name five metaphors for their period. The average guy only knows two: "That time of the month" and "Aunt Flow."

Or, maybe the doctor's could just shave each player's face and see how long it takes for the stubble to come back? Though that kind of sex check might have its drawbacks for the Iranian football league too. Because, what if you really are a woman, but secretly Italian?

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