Skip to main content

FIFA approves headscarves but bans all slogans on undershirts

updated 12:42 PM EST, Sat March 1, 2014
Following a trial period, FIFA have officially sanctioned the wearing of religious headscarves on a football pitch.
Following a trial period, FIFA have officially sanctioned the wearing of religious headscarves on a football pitch.
  • FIFA sanctions wearing of headscarves following a successful trial period
  • Football governing body caused controversy when imposing ban in 2007
  • FIFA also announce that all slogans on undergarments will be banned from June 1

(CNN) -- Football's world governing body, FIFA, has officially sanctioned the wearing of religious headscarves.

The announcement made at the Annual General Meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich, Switzerland follows a successful trial period which began in July 2012.

"The IFAB approved the modification to the interpretation of 'Law 4 -- The Players' Equipment' specifying the provisions by which male and female players can now wear head covers," read a statement on FIFA's website on Saturday.

"After a two-year pilot, The IFAB agreed that there was no indication as to why the wearing of head covers should be prohibited..."

Bayem dressing room secrets revealed
How Bayern Munich became the World's best team

FIFA banned the wearing of headscarves in 2007 on the grounds of safety, but the ruling caused controversy.

In 2011, Iran's women's team forfeited a Olympic qualifying match against Jordan because members of their team were prohibited from wearing headscarves.

However, following a request by Zhang Jilong from the Asian Football Federation in January 2012, FIFA unanimously approved headscarves for a trial period six months later.

A further relaxation of FIFA rules came in July 2013 after the Canadian Soccer Federation lobbied FIFA to change rules to allow turbans to be worn on the football pitch.

No more slogans on undershirts

On the same day it was relaxing its position on headscarves, IFAB also announced a tightening up of rules on undergarments bearing slogans.

Until now, some slogans have been allowed but a blanket ban will now be imposed.

"Players must not reveal undergarments showing slogans or advertising. The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements. A player removing his jersey or shirt to reveal slogans or advertising will be sanctioned by the competition organiser," FIFA states.

"From now on there can be no slogan or image whatsoever on undergarments even good-natured ones. This will apply from June 1 and will be in force for the World Cup," FIFA secretary general, Jerome Valcke said.

Players frequently lift their shirts after scoring a goal to reveal a range of messages from dedications to new born babies to get well soon messages to players or friends.

But these, along with more colorful statements like Mario Balotelli's "Why always me?" revealed while playing for Manchester City in 2011, will now be banned.

"The idea is to get some consistency. The simplest rule for the image of the game is to start from the basis that slogans will not be allowed," said Alex Horne, general secretary of the English Football Association.

Read more: UEFA sees red over Bendtner's underpants

Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
updated 8:29 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
updated 11:19 AM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.