Iranian TV censors Premier League match over 100 times due to woman referee

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 16, 2021, 07:24 PM(IST)

Iranian TV censors Premier League match over 100 times due to woman referee Photograph:( Twitter )

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As per Iranian women’s civil rights group My Stealthy Freedom, the reason to censor the telecast was to prevent viewers from seeing her bare legs.

A television station in Iran covered a Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspurs and Manchester United, however, the live telecast had over 100 shots censored due to the presence of a female referee in the match. The censorship has sparked criticism on social media. 

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Several netizens including Iran's world champion gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling, Sardar Pashaei and founder of the country's women's civil rights group (My Stealthy Freedom) took to Twitter to speak against the move. 

Pashaei tweeted: "Last night, Iran TV interrupted the important game between Manchester United and Tottenham dozens of times, censoring its images, just because one of the referee's match was a woman (@SianMasseyRef). Will @FIFAcom voice its objection to this gender discrimination by Iran?”

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The founder of the My Stealthy Freedom campaign, Masih Alinejad, tweeted: “Censorship in Iran: business as usual! This is not a joke. Iranian state TV cuts off parts of a football match more than 100 times because the assistant referee was a woman wearing shorts.”

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As per Iranian women’s civil rights group My Stealthy Freedom, the reason to censor the telecast was to prevent viewers from seeing her bare legs.

“The television censors were rattled by the presence of a female referee in shorts,” the group said in a statement.

“Their solution was to cut away from the action to views of London’s backstreets, which made a mockery of the game. At the end of the game, one of the commentators joked that he hoped the viewers enjoyed the geographic show,” it added.

“Censorship is in the DNA of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We should not normalise this practice. This is not our culture. This is the ideology of a repressive regime.”

However, this is not the first time it has happened to football match in Iran. In 2018, an Iranian state TV channel blurred out AS Roma’s badge while broadcasting the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal with Barcelona. This was because the badge of the Italian club showed an image of a female wolf feeding the mythical founders of the city, Romulus and Remus.

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