FIFA medical committee says headscarf designs are health hazard

FIFA’s medical advisers say new designs are needed because headscarves worn by Muslim women players could lead to head and neck injuries. Michel D’Hooghe, chairman of FIFA’s medical committee, says samples received from two designers “represented a danger” to players’ health.

Soccer’s rules-making panel has said it intends to approve headscarves following a campaign by FIFA executive committee member Prince Ali of Jordan. However, the panel asked for more medical advice before it meets on July 2.

D’Hooghe says his group of doctors tested the scarves and believed they could lead to head and neck injuries, plus overheating. Modified designs are expected to arrive at FIFA “in the coming days,” the Belgian doctor said.

Associated Press, 24 May 2012

An earlier report had already indicated that FIFA might be backtracking on its earlier commitment to revoke the headscarf ban:

“‘Testing’ of the headscarf apparently involved asking a secretary to walk around the room while attempts were made to pull the scarf from her head. That image, together with the absence of any apparent ‘live’ match test, suggests both a lack of both serious intent and perception concerning the issue.”