The United Nations has
joined the campaign to overturn the ban on the hijab in
football four days before the sport's rule makers are due to
review the decision.
The U.N. Secretary-General's special adviser on sport for
development and peace Wilfried Lemke has written to FIFA President Sepp Blatter expressing support for the right to wear
a safe, Velcro-opening headscarf.
Lemke expressed his hope that "the issue can be resolved in
a way that respects both the Laws of the Game as well as
cultural considerations, while promoting football for all women
without discrimination," the U.N. said in a statement.
"It would send the message that each female player, from the
top elite level down to the grassroots, has the freedom to
decide whether or not to wear this particular piece of attire
while on the field.
"It would give the opportunity for remarkable female
athletes to demonstrate that wearing the headscarf is not an
obstacle to excelling in life and sports, and would hence
contribute to challenging gender stereotypes and bringing about
a change in mentalities."
While Olympic sports such as rugby and taekwondo allow
Muslim women to wear the headscarf in competition, football is
opposed for safety reasons.
Last year the Iran women's football team were prevented from
playing their 2012 Olympic second round qualifying match against
Jordan because they refused to remove their hijabs before
Iran, who had topped their group in the first round of
Olympic qualifiers after going undefeated, were given 3-0
defeats as a penalty which abruptly ended their dreams of
qualifying for the London Olympics.
The ban will be reviewed by the International Football
Association Board (IFAB) which meets in England on Saturday
Founded in 1886, it is football's ultimate law-making body
comprising four members from FIFA and four from the British
FIFA Vice-President Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan will
present the case for allowing players to use a Dutch-designed
Velcro hijab which comes apart if pulled.
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