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FIFA Reverses Hijab Ban After Iranian Protest

The FIFA Olympic football federation has reversed a ruling that banned Iranian women from wearing the hijab Muslim hair covering in competitions.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 5/4/2010, 12:02 PM / Last Update: 5/4/2010, 12:13 PM

Flash 90

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) had earlier banned Iran's female football squad from wearing the hijab at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, slated for August 14-26 in Singapore.

The head of the Iranian Football Federation, Ali Kaffashian, and the federation's International Relations director, Omid Jamali, met in Switzerland to discuss the issue with FIFA president Sepp Blater and secretary-general Jerome Valcke.

The two Iranian officials told FIFA, “The entire world should respect Muslims' rights and consider Islamic rules and values as a crucial factor when dealing with the Muslim countries' women football teams,” according to the state-run Iranian FNA news agency.

FIFA subsequently ruled in a letter to the Iranian federation that if the hijab covers the hair without violating the rules of the game, the female footballers can use it and the Iranian players could participate in this summer's Olympic games in Singapore.

The Iranian team members, age 14 and under, will be registered by the Olympic authorities, the letter added.