International Players' Union backs FIFA vice-president's pro-hijab campaign27 February 2012

The international players' union FIFPro is backing the campaign by FIFA vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan to change the law and allow Muslim women to wear the hijab during matches.

The Islamic headscarf has been banned since 2007 but the issue comes before the game's lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), at its annual meeting in Bagshot on March 3.

Ban excludes Muslim women
Muslim women are being discouraged from taking up football because of the worldwide ban of the hijab, the Islamic headscarf. The dispute was highlighted when Iran's women's team were forced to forfeit London 2012 Olympic qualifying matches last year.

FIFPro spokeswoman Frederique Winia said: “The current ban on wearing headscarves for religious reasons is discrimination.”

Safety concerns
Safety concerns are commonly put forth by footballing authorities to justify the ban. Prince Ali will make a presentation to IFAB members showing the hijab held in place by velcro rather than pins, thereby eliminating any safety dangers.

He is concerned that Muslim women could turn away from the sport if the law is not changed.

“It is very important that everybody has the chance to play the sport that they love and obviously the laws of the games have to be amended to allow that,” he was recently quoted as saying.