Asian Football Confederation supports campaign to lift hijab ban on female football players
Monday, 30 January 2012
January 30 - The acting head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), China's Zhang Jilong (pictured), has lent his support to the campaign for the wearing of the Islamic headscarf hijab by female footballers during matches.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB), the game's lawmakers, is due to make a ruling on the issue when it meets on March 3.
Jilong says the entire AFC is behind FIFA vice-president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein who is spearheading the need to review the headscarf issue and who will make a presentation to the IFAB.
"Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves," Jilong said.
"I would like to request that the IFAB favourably consider FIFA's proposal, review the rule and allow women players to play wearing a safe headscarf that covers the neck.
"My colleagues in the AFC Executive Committee strongly support the idea of reviewing the rule and I think it is in the interests of women's football worldwide."
He said several new designs of headscarves are now commercially available that ensure players' safety.
"I have personally seen the new designs with a Velcro joined at the neck, which releases if the headscarf is pulled, ensuring the player's safety," Jilong said.
January 2012: Exclusive - "FIFA has to give same opportunities to everyone" says Prince Ali in hijab row
January 2012: French groups protest FIFA plan to lift ban on hijab
December 2011: Proposal to lift ban on hijab to be put forward to football rule-makers
November 2011: FIFA vice-president to review controversial hijab rule
October 2011: FIFA vice-president Al Hussein moves to allow hijabs in the game