FIFA endorsement of hijab proposal may end dispute with Iran and Muslim women

World soccer body FIFA has endorsed a proposal to lift a controversial ban on women wearing a hijab in a move that brings closer a resolution to demands by religious female Islamic soccer players that they be allowed to wear a headdress in line with their interpretation of their faith.

At its executive committee meeting in Tokyo this weekend, FIFA decided to submit to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which governs the rules of association soccer, the proposal put forward by Asian Football Confederation (AFC) vice president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, a half-brother of Jordanian King Abdullah.

IFAB is expected to discuss the proposal that calls for the sanctioning of a safe, velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials at its next scheduled meeting on March 3.

The FIFA executive committee’s endorsement follows an earlier approval of the AFC proposal that resulted from a workshop convened in October in Amman by Prince Ali that was attended by prominent soccer executives, women players and coaches, including head of FIFA’s medical committee Michel D’Hooghe, AFC vice president Moya Dodd, members of FIFA’s women committee and representatives of the soccer bodies of Jordan, Bahrain, Iran and England.

The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, 19 December 2011