(WFI) The International Football Association Board, football’s law-making body, has removed the ban on the wearing of religious headscarves.
Meeting on Saturday in Zurich, IFAB announced that head covers for male and female players would be formally permitted after a successful two-year trial period.
“The IFAB approved the modification to the interpretation of ‘Law 4 — The Players’ Equipment’ specifying the provisions by which male and female players can now wear head covers,” FIFA said in a statement.
“After a two-year pilot, the IFAB agreed that there was no indication as
to why the wearing of head covers should be prohibited, as long as their
design restrictions are respected in line with the new wording of Law
4, agreed on at today’s AGM.”
Controversially banned for safety reasons since 2007, Jordan’s FIFA ExCo member Prince Ali bin Al Hussein has campaigned for the restriction to be dropped since he joined the committee in 2011. The ban made global headlines when Iran’s women’s team forfeited a London Olympic qualifier against Jordan
because its players were not allowed to wear hijabs.
“Happy for our girls & boys regarding IFAB’s decision today on confirming headscarf/head cover wearers to play football. Football is for all,” Prince Ali tweeted.
The Asian Football Confederation said it had “long championed the cause of allowing head scarves
in football as its ban was seen as a major barrier in preventing women
in Islamic nations from participating in the game and consequently
having a negative impact of the development of women’s football in Asia”.
IFAB Bans Slogans
IFAB has put new rules in place on undergarments bearing slogans.
It was another decision of the rule-making body, which comprises the football associations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and FIFA,
which holds four votes. Changes to the laws of the game can only be made with a three-quarters majority.
“Players must not reveal undergarments showing slogans or advertising. The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements,” FIFA said.
“A player removing his jersey or shirt to reveal slogans or advertising will be sanctioned by the competition organiser.”
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told reporters that the restrictions which will mean that humorous or good-natured slogans that players sometimes revealed in goal-scoring celebrations and which were previously allowed, were now banned.
Previously, what a player could reveal on any item of basic compulsory
equipment was different to what he or she could wear on an undergarment.
“The IFAB therefore approved the clarification in order to have a
consistent approach that is also easier to regulate,” said FIFA.
Valcke said the rule would be in force from June 1 for the Brazil World Cup.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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