The FIFA permits the wearing of the headscarf; the wrath of French football

March 1, 2014


The option to wear the headscarf or turban has officially been approved within the practice of football, the FIFA announced on March 1st. At the request of certain Muslim countries, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which handles legal aspects of football, had agreed to a tentative trial allowing the headscarf on strict conditions two years ago. The headscarf question had become more prominent in recent years, with Iran having gone as far as pressing charges against the FIFA because its female players, prevented from covering their heads, had to forgo the London Olympics in 2012.


The French president of the FIFA, Jerome Valcke, said during a press conference that a trial had been undertaken and ‘a decision has been made: female players can have their heads covered while playing.’ The Board saw no valid reasons to ban it if strict conditions are met. The headscarf must be tightly fitted around the player’s head, be coordinated with the player’s uniform, not be attached to the maillot, must not have any loose parts, and must not constitute a danger to the player nor to others.


However, if the new authorization of head-coverings is valid for the whole world, it does not mean that it will be applied everywhere.


Two years ago, the Federation Francaise du Football (FFF) had  banned its players from wearing the headscarf, ‘in order to respect the constitutional precepts of secularism’ in France. The FFF reiterated that the principle of secularism remained valid including in regards to the participation of French selections in international competitions, and upheld the prohibition on all religious signs in the country.


The President of the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), Frederic Thiriez, deplored the ruling as a ‘grave mistake.’ ‘I regret the decision of the FIFA which undermines the principal of universality of football in which all players, male and female, are supposed to be subject to the same rules and match conditions. Whereas the Olympic chart bans all religious symbols, this decision goes against women rights and threatens the neutrality of football that is safe from religious and political conflict.’



The French Football Federation will not authorize headscarves

News Agencies – July 7, 2012


The French Football Federation (FFF) said that it would “not authorise players to wear a veil” while playing for France or in organised competitions, a day after world footballing authorities said the hijab could be worn on the pitch.

The FFF’s announcement came after a French MP had urged the government earlier yesterday to ban the Islamic headscarf for women soccer players. The International Football Association Board (IFAB), custodians of the rules of football, overturned its 2007 ban on the Islamic headscarf, a garment it had argued was unsafe and increased the risk of neck injuries. Critics said the ban promoted inequality at the highest level of the world’s most popular game.

French lawmaker Gerald Darmanin wrote to Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron asking that Paris denounce the U-turn “in the name of universal and republican values”.

French Football Coach Laurent Blanc keeps job after race controversy

French Football Coach Laurent Blanc keeps job after race controversy

News Agencies – May 12, 2011

France football coach Laurent Blanc has kept his job after being cleared of wrongdoing in the racial discrimination controversy. The French Football Federation said that it “renews its entire confidence in Laurent Blanc”. Blanc attended a meeting in November at which federation members discussed the idea of a quota for players with dual nationality in youth academies. The majority of the players in question are of black or Arab origin. FFF president Fernand Duchaussoy said: “The [FFF’s] federal council has taken note that no discrimination was ever put in place.”

Blaquart used the word “quotas” in the meeting, while Blanc has admitted he also made comments which could “offend some sensibilities”. Influential French great Zinedine Zidane, have offered him their support. Blanc is rebuilding the France team following their disastrous showing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa under former coach Raymond Domenech.