There’s no crying in baseball, and no hijabs in international women’s soccer. (Or is it “football”?)
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), “the governing body of Asian football and one of the six Confederations making up FIFA,” is pushing to change the latter.
On Monday AFC Acting President Zhang Jilong urged the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which will meet to reconsider the rule on March 3, to change the headscarf ban during its upcoming London meeting.
“Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves,” Jilong, a member of FIFA’s executive committee, said in a statement. “I would like to request the IFAB to favourably consider FIFA’s proposal and review the rule and allow women players to play wearing a safe headscarf that covers the neck.
According to the Associated Press, FIFA — soccer’s “international governing body” — banned the headscarf in 2007 to prevent possible strangulation during rough play. In December the IFAB, soccer’s rule-making body, agreed to reconsider the prohibition.
Advocates for removal of the ban say there are solutions to the safety concerns, including Velcro headscarves.
“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,” Jilong said.
According to Jilong, ending the hijab ban is in the interests of “women’s football worldwide.”
During a June 2011 Olympic qualifying round, the Iranian women’s soccer team forfeited a match against Jordan because players weren’t allowed to cover their heads on the field.