KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Asian Football Confederation on Monday urged football’s top lawmaking body to approve a headscarf with safety features for use by Islamic female players.
Football governing body FIFA banned the hijab or headscarf in 2007 for safety reasons, a move condemned by Islamic leaders and sports officials. Iran’s team forfeited a 2012 Olympic women’s qualifier against Jordan in June because the players refused to play without the hijabs.
AFC acting chief Zhang Jilong, who is also a FIFA executive committee member, said a favorable decision by the International Football Association Board when it debates the issue on March 3 in London is crucial to the future of women’s football 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.
Zhang said several new headscarf designs that ensure player safety are now available on the market.
“I have personally seen the new designs with a velcro joined at the neck, which releases if the headscarf is pulled, ensuring the player’s safety,” he added. (end)