FIFA has banned head scarves. FIFA has ruled that no player can wear a head scarf or hijab on the field. The International Football Association Board (IFAB)was asked at its annual meeting Saturday to adjudicate on a decision to ban an 11-year-old Muslim girl from playing in a tournament near Montreal last weekend because she was wearing a head scarf.
“If you play football there’s a set of laws and rules, and law four outlines the basic equipment,” said Brian Barwick, chief executive of the English Football Association, which is one of the IFAB members.
“It’s absolutely right to be sensitive to people’s thoughts and philosophies, but equally there has to be a set of laws that are adhered to, and we favour law four being adhered to.”
Law four lists the items a player is entitled to wear and head scarves are not mentioned.
Goalkeepers are allowed to wear caps and protective headguards.
Asmahan Mansour was told to either remove her hijab or leave the field in an under-12 tournament near Montreal.
Quebec’s soccer federation said the hijab violated a no-headgear rule set down by FIFA for safety reasons.
Valmie Ouellet, the co-ordinator of regional technical services for the Quebec Soccer Federation, said the referee was simply enforcing that regulation.
Mr. Ouellet said it’s irrelevant that the game’s referee happened to be Muslim, adding that a similar call would have been made if it applied to a different religious group.
Ontario’s soccer association lets players wear religious headgear, while Quebec’s rules are more vague.
Sandra Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Soccer Association, said FIFA’s no headgear rule is up to referees to interpret.
Ms. Asmahan was allowed to play in two earlier games on the weekend because another referee didn’t act on the rules.
Her team withdrew from and forfeited the rest of the games.