AFC chairman urges lifting of ban on hijab
KUALA LUMPUR - Agence France-PresseAsia’s football chief yesterday urged the game’s top lawmaking body to lift a controversial ban on headscarves, saying new designs can prevent neck injuries to Muslim women players.
“Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves,” Asian Football Confederation (AFC) acting president Zhang Jilong said ahead of a March 3 meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to review the ruling.
“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,” Zhang said in a statement. “My colleagues in the AFC Executive Committee strongly support the idea of reviewing the rule and I think it is in the interests of women’s football worldwide.”
IFAB, formed in 1886, discusses and decides on proposed alterations to the laws of football. The body comprises four members from FIFA and four from British associations.
FIFA banned the hijab, or headscarf, in 2007 and has extended the safety rule to include neck warmers.
Several new designs of headscarves are now available, he said. “I have seen the new designs with a velcro joined at the neck which releases if the headscarf is pulled, ensuring the player’s safety.”
At its executive committee meeting in Tokyo last month, FIFA decided to submit to the IFAB the proposal put forward by AFC vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, a half-brother of Jordanian King Abdullah.