The Asian Football Confederation has urged soccer’s rule-making body to approve a headscarf with new safety features for use by Islamic female players.
AFC acting chief Zhang Jilong said in a statement Monday that a favorable decision when the International Football Association Board debates the issue on March 3 in London is crucial to the future of women’s soccer worldwide.
“Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves. I would like to request the IFAB to favorably consider FIFA’s proposal and review the rule and allow women players to play wearing a safe headscarf that covers the neck,” he said in a statement.
Though FIFA originally banned the hijab or headscarf in 2007 as a possible strangulation hazard, the executive committee of world soccer’s governing body agreed in December to put forward a proposal to amend the rules. It was prompted by a presentation from AFC vice president Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, who called on the IFAB to sanction a Velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials.
FIFA’s ban was condemned by Islamic leaders and Iran forfeited a 2012 Olympic women’s qualifier against Jordan in June because the players refused to play without the hijabs.