In a bizarre censorship twist, Iranian TV cut the live broadcast of Sunday’s match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. They clipped out over a 100 moments from the match over not wanting to show the legs of the assistant referee, who was a woman. So, a female referee’s legs in Tottenham vs Manchester United were censored in Iran, strangely.
Iran’s state TV channel reportedly cut away from their Premier League broadcast of Tottenham 1-3 Manchester United. Not once or twice- they did so more than 100 times to avoid showing assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis.
The state broadcaster cut out live telecasts of the match over 100 times to avoid showing the woman’s legs. An Iranian civil rights group claims the Islamic Republic broadcaster didn’t want viewers to see the bare legs of Massey-Ellis.
The “bare legs” in question, clad in shorts and socks, only has the knees visible anyway.
Not that that is of any relevance- women referees in football are often subjected to such unnecessarily gendered reactions anyway. Sergio Agüero grabbed a female assistant referee back in October, but the incident was swept away by his own coach. In another incident, social media creeps subjected a woman referee bending (to draw a mark on the pitch) to sexist video edits.
Now, a female referee’s legs in Tottenham vs Manchester United were censored in Iran on Sunday. This was apparently in accordance to the strict religious laws of the state.
The image above shows what Iranians saw when the rest of the world enjoyed an uninterrupted broadcast.
My Stealthy Freedom, a group that campaigns against discriminatory gender laws within Iran, wrote about the incident.
“The television censors were rattled by the presence of a female referee in shorts,” they said.
“Their solution was to cut away from the action to views of London’s backstreets, which made a mockery of the game,” they continued.
“At the end of the game, one of the commentators joked that he hoped the viewers enjoyed the geographic show.”
“Censorship is in the DNA of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We should not normalise this practice. This is not our culture,” they said. “This is the ideology of a repressive regime.”