FIFA overturns hijab ban in women's football

International Football Association Board unanimously approves trial period for headscarves
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 06 Jul 2012 09:28 AM

FIFA has overturned a ban on women footballers wearing the Islamic headscarf in what it calls a "historic decision".

The International Football Association Board (IFAB), custodians of the rules of football, overturned its 2007 ban on the hijab, which it had argued was unsafe and increased the risk of neck injuries.

Members unanimously approved a trial period for the wearing of headscarves, adding that the design, colour and material permitted will be defined and confirmed at a meeting in Glasgow in October.

"Currently there is no medical literature concerning injuries as a result of wearing a headscarf, and therefore the decision taken will be reviewed at the IFAB Annual General Meeting in 2014," a statement said.

The Kuwaiti women's football team, like those of the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, plays in various international competitions.

Oman does not field a women's team, neither does Saudi Arabia, the most conservative of six monarchies in the Arabian Peninsula.

The wearing of the Islamic veil, limited historically to conservative Gulf monarchies, has gained ground, including in sports, since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the creation of an Islamic republic.

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