FIFA dress code bars Iran girls from Youth Games
ZURICH: Iran’s girls’ soccer team was thrown out of the Youth Olympics because FIFA rules prevent players from wearing an Islamic headscarf.
Thailand replaces Iran in the August tournament, the governing body of Asian soccer said on its Web site Monday.
The hijab scarf — worn by girls and women to observe Islamic dress code — was not allowed under FIFA rules relating to on-field equipment, the Asian Football Confederation said. Iran’s national Olympic committee had urged soccer’s international ruling body and the International Olympic Committee to review the ban.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke rejected the Iranian Olympic panel’s request in a letter to the national soccer federation. He said the FIFA executive committee had “no choice but to take the decision.”
FIFA maintains that soccer’s international rulebook contains a section on player equipment, stating that “basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements.”
The hijab issue was first examined in 2007 after an 11-year-old girl in Canada was prevented from wearing one for safety reasons.
FIFA’s rules-making arm, the International Football Association Board, declined to make an exception for religious clothing.
Iran was to have taken part in a six-nation tournament for girls at the inaugural competition in Singapore on Aug. 12-25. About 3,600 athletes, ages 14 to 18, will compete in 26 sports.
Thailand will represent Asia against Turkey, Equatorial Guinea, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and Papua New Guinea.