(Persia Digest) – Mahsa Ghorbani is the first Iranian woman referee to judge the men’s football game. She has been nominated to act as referee for the AFC Cup 2019.

Mahsa Ghorbani is an Iranian international referee born in 1989. She is a Marketing Management graduate. She was born in a family with no interest in football and in her own words: “My family was not a sporting one. When I decided to go into football, I didn’t have their support. They told me to choose another field. But now, they have turned into my biggest supporters.”

Ghorbani began playing football in 2006 as the goalkeeper for a team in Tehran’s fourth district. She joined the team not because she wanted to become a footballer, but because she wanted to learn the practical side of the game and common fouls. She spent two years as a goalkeeper until she enrolled in referee courses in 2008. She began refereeing in the Iran League in 2009.

Mahsa’s first experiences in Asia were in the U14 games. She was invited to referee the games over five consecutive years and took part in the Asian football perspective courses until 2016. She is now an international referee.

Her portfolio includes refereeing the AFC Cup qualifiers and the Asian Youth Games. Following her participation in the most important semifinals between Japan and Korea, she moved on to the finals in east Asia and the Asian Football Confederation put her in charge of refereeing the most important women’s game between North and South Korea.

And yet, nobody in Iran really knows her. She says: “Sadly, I have become accustomed to hearing why are your games not publicized? Men are always more in the public eye. When the Football Federation has such a low esteem of women’s football, I don’t expect our games to be publicized. I will be the AFC games referee in March. The Federation has not yet announced the news and I am not complaining. We are used to this sort of thing.”

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