FIFA, football's world governing body, officially authorised players on Saturday to wear head covers for religious purposes during matches.
"It was decided that female players can cover their heads to play," said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke at a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport's lawmakers, in Zurich.
The decision means that female players who wear religious head covers, such as a veil, in everyday life can now do so during matches. Valcke added that following a request from Canada’s Sikh community, male players will also be authorised to wear head covers as long as it matches the colour of the team jersey.
Head covers were banned during competition until 2012 because they posed too great a risk of injury to the head or neck, according to FIFA. For the past two years, however, IFAB has allowed them on a trial basis, after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) asked that the rule be changed.
"It's a worldwide authorisation," said Valcke, who confirmed that the hosting of the 2016 women's under-17 World Cup by the Arab kingdom of Jordan played a part in the decision.
"It was a plus for them to have authorisation from the IFAB for women to be able to play (wearing head covers). It was a request from these (Muslim) countries that said it would help support women's football there," he said.
Responding to FIFA’s ruling later on Saturday, the French Football Federation (FFF) said it planned to uphold its own ban against “the wearing of all religious or confessional symbols,” which includes veils and turbans. The FFF cited its obligation to respect “laïcité,” France’s unique conception of secularism.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-03-01