Kuala Lumpur. 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.
FIFA last year extended the safety rule to include neck warmers, which were also judged a possible choking threat.
In December, FIFA’s Executive Committee agreed to put forward a proposal to amend the rules following a presentation by AFC vice president Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, who called on rule-maker the IFAB to sanction a safe, Velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials.
“Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves. I would like to request the IFAB to favorably consider FIFA’s proposal and review the rule,” Zhang said in a statement.
“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.
World governing body FIFA’s Law 4 states that a player must not wear anything that is dangerous to herself or another player.
IFAB is football’s ultimate law-making body, comprised of four members from FIFA and four from the British associations.