The French Football Federation (FFF) said Friday 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.
“Regarding the participation of female French national team players in international competitions on one hand, and the organisation of national competitions on the other, the French Football Federation reiterates its duty to respect the constitutional and legislative principles of secularism that prevails in our country and features in its statutes,” declared a statement from the FFF.
The FFF’s announcement came after a French MP had urged the government earlier on Friday to ban the Islamic headscarf for women soccer players.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), custodians of the rules of football, on Thursday 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. Iran, the Asian Football Confederation and Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, who is also FIFA vice president, were at the forefront of the fight against the ban.
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”. He also called for a “clear signal to ban headscarves in football fields in our country”, adding that sports “must continue to promote equality of the sexes”.
See also “Joy for FIFA Prince and Muslim women as football hijab ban is lifted”, Insidethegames.biz, 5 July 2012
Update: And “Muslim women rewarded for keeping faith with the game”, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 July 2012