FIFA to review hijab law for women players

By REUTERS ARABNEWS.

TOKYO: FIFA is considering changing their laws to allow women to wear a hijab, or headscarf when they play in official matches.

Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, 35, the youngest member of FIFA’s executive committee and the Asian vice-president, made a presentation to members at their meeting in Tokyo on Saturday and was given the go-ahead to present the case when the law-making International Board meets in Bagshot, England, next March.

In a statement, Prince Ali said he wanted the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to sanction a safe, velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials and asked them to re-consider the law when they meet on March 3.

“I look forward to presenting the case at the IFAB meeting,” he said.

“This issue impacts on millions of women worldwide and it is crucial to address, in the best possible way, the issue that ensures the safety of the players, respects culture and promotes football for all women without discrimination.”

He added: “This is a crucial step forward. Our goal at the end of the day is to ensure that all women are able to play football at all levels without any barriers.”

FIFA’s Law 4 regarding kit states that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player, including any kind of jewellery.

It lists the “basic equipment” as a jersey, shorts, socks, shin-guards and footwear.

IFAB, formed in 1886, is soccer’s ultimate law-making body comprising four members from FIFA and four from the British associations.

Any recommendation needs a three-quarters majority to be passed.

2 replies

  1. This is potentially a very important decision. We hope and pray that FIFA will take the lead in permitting the Hijab. Other sports will then follow. Thanks also to H.R.H. Prince Ali for supporting this cause!

  2. As a Muslim woman I wear a hijab (head covering/scarf) in accordance with my religion, Islam. So far in life, my hijab has made me feel safe, respected, and has given me a sense of belonging. Wearing a hijab from a young age, I had my days where I needed to ponder over my reasons for wearing a hijab and often reconsidered it. With time, I noticed the pros for wearing a hijab outweighed the cons. I realized that justifications I gave my parents for not wearing a hijab were merely based on societal views. I cared more about what others thought and less about what I felt or believed.

    Growing up in the Western world, had made me feel that my hijab was an impediment to my ability and performance at school, especially in sports! I recall, in Grade 6 when I first started wearing my hijab in school. Everyone in my school looked at me as if I were an alien, considering there weren’t many other Muslim girls wearing a hijab. My gym teacher would often suggest to me that it’s not possible for me to play with the hijab on or that she felt it was unsafe.
    Being naive and young I would wear my scarf at school but take it off whenever we had gym. I completely loved sports and I didn’t want to sit out or miss out on playing any sports, so taking off the hijab for gym made sense to me.

    However, as time progressed I started feeling embarrassed to constantly have to take off my hijab especially considering it was a co-ed environment. I would be questioned on why I wear it and it would be so contradictory to have to take it off in gym when there were boys all around me! I eventually became stronger in my faith and avoided school sports (that I so really wanted to play) that required me to take my hijab off. With a note from my parents and permission from the gym teacher I started wearing my hijab during gym. I felt great when I did and didn’t feel any change in my performance, but indeed felt discrimination. Though, I didn’t give up on sports completely, as I joined the limited community sports that were offered to girls only.

    In this day and age, we really should be more open and display zero tolerance for discrimination. The laws for FIFA need to be amended to better fit the citizens of this world. The Velcro-opening hijab for players will indeed minimize any safety concerns and will allow Muslim women, whom love soccer, to play in official matches. We shouldn’t have to change people but rather focus on changing the views of people/ society.

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