by Chi Ibe
The use of the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, for female Muslim football playerswas previously banned due to safety concerns and because it was not recognized in the laws of the game but recently FIFA lifted embargo.
After studying reports from FIFA’s medical officer, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) unanimously overturned the ban and agreed to re-write the laws.
According to FIFA secretary general, Jerome Valcke, safety and medical issues have been removed for the use of the headscarf and it is approved that players can have the head scarf. He said a further meeting in October would discuss the details. “The only remaining point now is now the colour and design of the headscarf,” he said.
Last year the women’s soccer team from Iran were prevented from playing their 2012 Olympic second round qualifying match against Jordan because they refused to remove their hijabs before kickoff. Iran, who had topped their group in the first round of Olympic qualifiers, was punished with an automatic 3-0 defeat, which abruptly ended their dreams of qualifying for the London games.
The move was influenced by a campaign in favour of the hijab from FIFA vice-president and executive committee member Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan. Other sports such as rugby and taekwondo already allow the use of the hijab.