Football NSW backs cultural diversity, welcomes IFAB decision on hijab

FNSW logoFootball NSW has thrown its support behind Harmony Day, a day designed to recognise Australia’s cultural diversity as well as women footballers.

Harmony Day is an initiative of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). It gives people the opportunity to celebrate what makes each Australian unique and share what we have in common.

In 2012, the Harmony Day theme is sport – play, engage, inspire recognises the important role and positive influence that sport has in our multicultural nation.

Involvement in sport whether as a participant, volunteer, spectator or administrator unites people of all ages and fosters a sense of belonging, acceptance and an understanding of other cultures.

Today, more than 25,000 Harmony Day events are held around Australia by a wide variety of groups including sports organisations, community groups, local government, schools and businesses.

In light of Harmony Day, Football NSW supported the recent measures taken to allow the use of the Hijab in our sport, pending FIFA’s final decision on 2 July 2012.

On 3 March 2012, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) agreed in principle to overturn the decision it took in 2007 and will now allow Islamic women footballers to wear a hijab or headscarf when they play.

The interim ruling demonstrated that the world governing body is serious in making football accessible to all and preserving its status as the number one football code in New South Wales.

Football NSW hopes that the lifting of the ban will encourage more Muslim women in NSW to join their local club.

To reiterate for our member clubs and associations, Football NSW allows players to wear hijabs or headscarfs. We advise players to monitor the developments of the “Dutch-designed Velcro Hijab”.

Football NSW CEO Eddie Moore applauded the recent ruling stating it was for the better of the game.

“Football NSW applauds the decision of IFAB on lifting the ban. We respect the cultural diversity which makes up the tapestry and fabric of our sport.

“We also do not wish to see any barrier placed in the way of participation as football is the connection for us, it is the world game and it brings everyone together.

“This positive decision will remove all barriers and bring in more female footballers into the game as this sport is for everyone from any race, culture and religion to enjoy.”

Football NSW media release, 21 March 2012