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IFAB backs referee in hijab controversy (4th March 2007) From Ref. Mal

Football's rulemakers have backed a controversial decision to prevent a Muslim girl from taking part in a match while wearing a headscarf.

Asmahan Mansour, 11, was banned from the competition in Laval, Canada, by a Muslim referee after she refused to remove the hijab. The International FA Board, meeting in Manchester, gave their backing to the referee.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick, one of the IFAB members, told a news conference: "If you play football there's a set of laws and rules and law four outlines the basic equipment. It's absolutely right to be sensitive to people's thoughts and philosophies but equally there has to be a set of laws that are adhered to, and we favour law four being adhered to."

He added: "It was discussed and it was discussed seriously, and from my own association's viewpoint this is not an issue we have much knowledge or experience of, we believe our football is inclusive."

FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi added: "The laws of the games must be applied when you play football."

No similar incident has occurred in England and the FA's view is understood to be to let the referee decide whether to permit it or not.

Quebec's football federation said the hijab violated a no-headgear rule set down by FIFA for safety reasons.
Posted on 08 Mar 2007 by coachgianni
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