A couple years ago there was much controversy over wearing head coverings during soccer matches. FIFA, the world’s football (soccer) governing body, had officially ruled it illegal to wear head coverings during matches. This upset resulted in Iran’s 2011 Olympic qualification team to withdraw from their match. They were protesting because they wanted the right to wear their headscarves.
The logic behind FIFA’s decision was a matter of safety. They felt as though religious head coverings posed a risk of injury to the heads and necks of football players. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) subsequently ran a two year study on the safety of head coverings during football matches. The two-year trial ended in with the decision to allow religious head covers on male and female players, as it was deemed that there was little foreseeable risk with to compete on the field while wearing religious headgear.
“So what’s the point?” You might be asking.
Well, for one FIFA now officially accepting the practices and respecting the wishes of a number of religious groups. More than just Islam, several other religions often require head coverings such as Mennonite, Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and many more!
Secondly, this huge decision has catalyzed similar conversation regarding head coverings in the sport all over the world. Recently, the Sikh community in Canada has been petitioning for the ban on turbans to be lifted.
And lastly, with soccer (more commonly known as football) being the most universally played sport in the world- it is good to know its governing body has their player’s cultural needs at heart.
– OIA Bloggers