A ban which prevented Muslim female footballers from wearing Islamic headscarves, or hijabs, whilst playing was lifted by FIFA yesterday.
The decision reverses the ban that was introduced for FIFA competitions five years ago. The garment had previously been prohibited because it was not recognised in the laws of the game and there were concerns for safety.
Reports from FIFA’s medical officer encouraged the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to overturn the ban and re-write the laws.
FIFA secretary general, Jerome Valcke, said: “Safety and medical issues have been removed for the use of the headscarf and it is approved that players can have the head scarf.
“The only remaining point now is now the colour and design of the headscarf.”
Sports such as taekwondo and rugby already allow hijabs to be warn and a campaign from FIFA vice-president and executive committee member Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan prompted the move for the sport of football.
In 2011 the Iranian women’s football team were prevented from playing their 2012 Olympic second round qualifying match against Jordan because they refused to remove their hijabs prior to kick-off.
As a result Iran, who had topped their group in the first round of Olympic qualifiers, were punished with an automatic 3-0 defeat, which put their dreams of qualifying for the London Olympics to an end.
Jessica Whittington, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine