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01 November 2011

FIFA could allow headscarf on the pitch

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By Jonathan Terry

Women could be given the right to wear a headscarf on the football pitch, as FIFA Vice-President Prince Ali al-Hussein announced he would bring the proposal to the governing body on “general principles” in December.

In 2007, the headscarf, predominantly worn by Muslim women, was banned after the world’s top football authority cited security concerns.

The Asian Football Confederation has come out in support of the idea, saying in a statement that the new proposals will ensure “the safe use of hijab [headscarf] in the game” and would satisfy “cultural customs.”

Asian and African countries have a large proportion of Muslims, with a large number of women donning the headscarf. The new proposal, if meeting FIFA rules, could provide more opportunities for women in Islamic majority countries.

Leaders and sports officials in Islamic countries have criticized the ban, saying it discourages women from playing soccer.

In June, Iran’s team forfeited a 2012 Olympic qualifier against Jordan because it wouldn’t play without the headscarf.

(Courtesy: Bikyamasr.com)

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