Fifa kicks Iranian girls out of Youth Olympics

2010-04-06 12:02

Iran’s girls football team has been kicked out of the Youth Olympic

Games because Fifa rules prevent players from wearing the Islamic head

scarf.

Thailand was nominated yesterday to replace the barred Iranians,

the Asian Football Confederation said in a report on its website.

“Fifa decreed

that the wearing of Islamic hijab was not in accordance with the laws of the

game,” the report said.

Iran’s national Olympic committee had called on football’s world

governing body and the International Olympic Committee to review the ban on head

scarves. The hijab is worn by girls and women to observe Islamic dress

code.

No choice

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke rejected the Iranian Olympic

panel’s request in a letter to the national football federation.

“Taking into

consideration the clear position stated by the (Olympic committee) of Iran, the

Fifa Executive Committee had no choice but to take the decision that (Iran) will

not be able to participate,” Valcke said, according to the Asian Football

Confederation.

Fifa maintains football’s international rule book, which contains a

section on players’ on-field equipment. Law 4 states that “basic compulsory

equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements”.

“The team of a player whose basic compulsory equipment has

political, religious or personal slogans or statements will be sanctioned by the

competition organiser or by Fifa.”

Safety risks

The hijab issue was first examined in 2007 after an 11-year-old

girl in Canada was prevented from wearing one because of possible safety issues

that may arise.

Fifa’s rules-making arm, the International Football Association

Board, declined to make an exception for religious clothing.

Iran was scheduled to compete in a six-nation tournament for girls

at the inaugural Youth Olympics being held between Aug 12 and 25 in

Singapore.

Thailand will now represent Asia against Turkey, Equatorial Guinea,

Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and Papua New Guinea.

At least 3 600 athletes, aged between 14 and 18, will compete in 26

sports.


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