Soccer lawmakers urged to review headscarf ban

New designs of hijab or headscarf ensure the safety of players during a game says a leading Asian football official.

Story highlights

  • Acting head of Asian football demands FIFA law-making body review headscarf ban
  • Zhang Jilong says new designs now available which ensure safety of a player
  • Meeting of IFAB scheduled to take place in London in early March

A top Asian football official has urged the game's top law-making body to overturn a controversial ban on headscarves.

Zhang Jilong, acting president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) requested the International Football Association Board (IFAB) review its ruling at their upcoming meeting in London on March 3.

"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," Jilong said in a statement on the AFC website.

Jilong, who is also a member of FIFA's executive committee member said the review, which will be presented to the IFAB members by FIFA vice-president HRH Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, has the full backing of the AFC.

Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves, Jilong says while pointing out that many new designs of headscarf make safety far less of an issue.

Soccer officials defend hijab ban

"I have personally seen the new designs with a Velcro joined at the neck, which releases if the headscarf is pulled, ensuring the player's safety," Jilong said.

IFAB is "the guardian of the Laws of the Game and is responsible for studying, modifying and overseeing any changes to it" according to FIFA, football's world governing body.

FIFA banned the wearing of a headscarf or hijab on the field of play in 2007 and extended the safety rule to include neck warmers or snoods in July 2011.

Jilong says a review of the ruling would be in the interests of women's football worldwide.

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