French women’s soccer match called off over hijab

March 19, 2012

A referee refused to officiate a French women’s football match, when players for one of the teams took the pitch wearing Muslim headscarves, the club involved said. The official sent a report to the Languedoc-Roussillon league in the south of the country about the incident involving players from Petit-Bard Montpellier, who had been due to play Narbonne in the regional promotion tie. The league must now decide whether to order the match to be replayed or to award a win to Narbonne.

Football’s world governing body FIFA banned players from wearing the Islamic headscarf in 2007, claiming it is unsafe. But football federations and even the United Nations have urged FIFA to lift the ban, maintaining that concerns about safety are baseless and that it discriminates against Muslim players, particularly when no such restrictions apply in other sports.