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Iran bans girls' football team from Youth Olympics over uniform

By Mitra Mobasherat, CNN
  • Iranian official says it's too "inappropriate"
  • She says the manufacturers did not follow the design approved by FIFA
  • Girls' football team was scheduled to play in the Youth Olympics
  • The event will be held in Singapore in August

(CNN) -- An Iranian official has rejected the new uniform for the girls' football team, saying it's too "inappropriate," the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported.

Marzieh Akbarabadi, the head of the Physical Education Organization, deemed the new uniforms as "inappropriate" after being presented with the new gear, ISNA said Thursday.

"I had not seen this uniform before. The Physical Education Organization does not approve of it, neither does it approve the head covering of the uniform," Akbarabadi told ISNA.

The Iranian girls' football team was scheduled to play in Singapore for the Youth Olympics in August, but only on the grounds that they would be wearing a uniform in line with Iran's Islamic dress code.

FIFA finally approved the uniform after it first rejected Iran's official uniform of a full headscarf and banned the team from participating in the games.

The new uniform swaps the headscarf for a cap that covers the hair, but not the ears and neck.

Akbarabadi said the manufacturers did not follow the design approved by FIFA and that Iran will not send the team to the games "at any cost."

In 2007, FIFA banned teams from wearing the traditional headscarves -- which protect the modesty of Islamic girls and women -- for safety reasons and to prevent political or religious statements.

About 3,600 athletes ages 14-18 are set to participate in 26 sports, including football, at the first staging of the Youth Olympic Games, from August 12-25 in the southeast Asian city state.

CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr contributed to this report.