Iran women cop Olympic ban over headscarves

Iran’s women’s football team has been banned from playing an Olympic qualifier because their Islamic dress broke FIFA rules.Females have to comply with a mandatory dress code in the Islamic state, which means they play matches in tracksuits and full head covers.

But FIFA rules for the 2012 Games state that teams are not allowed to display political or religious messages or slogans on their equipment.

The Iranian team was prevented from playing a qualifier against Jordan on Friday because of the dress code violation, and their forfeit handed their opposition a 3-0 win.

Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Football Federation Farideh Shojaei said Iran had made alterations to their uniforms after a similar ban last year, and that FIFA had approved those changes.

“We provided a kit. Mr Kafashian took it to FIFA and showed it to Mr Sepp Blatter. And they proved that this conduct conforms to the fourth article of the FIFA constitution, which says (a kit should be) devoid of politics or religion,” Shojaei said.

“And in reality, this kit is neither religious, nor political, nor will it lead to harm a player. They proved this, and Mr Sepp Blatter accepted this and we participated in the Olympics.”

FIFA banned the hijab in 2007 and informed Iranian officials before the match that they would not be able to play in head scarves for safety reasons.

The world governing body declared that Jordan were also told about the ruling – with the country deciding not to select players who elected to wear the Islamic dress.

At the 2010 Youth Olympics, Iran’s girls were able to play in specially designed head gear.