French Sports Minister refuses to backdown on headscarf ban
France's new Sports Minister Thierry Braillard has defended the right of his country to uphold its policy of banning headscarves for footballers - in defiance of the game's lawmakers most recent decision.
Last month, following a two-year trial period, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) finally gave the green light for specially designed head covers to be worn in competitive games - not only by women but men too. Nevertheless, the French oppose the lifting of the previous prohibition, citing its own laws against public displays of religious symbols.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter told a French sports channel that as a member of FIFA, if the IFAB allows headscarves to be worn "the French federation cannot say No . . . It has no choice."
However, Thierry Braillard stressed his country's authorities would not budge from their stance.
"The position taken by the French federation and its president, Noel Le Graet, has our full support," he said.
"Mr. Blatter needs to remember that France upholds certain core secular values ... which are a pillar of our constitution. It's completely right that the government should show its support for the French football federation." added the Sports Minister.
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