Can Soccer And Hijab Mix?

Oh no, not another story about the young lady kicked off the soccer field for wearing a hijab!!!

Wait!! Don’t leave. This one is different.

In every story I have read in the press about Asmahan (Azzy) Mansour, the argument surrounds the religious argument, the safety, and FIFA. We hear about the referee being Muslim. We hear about the rules, and we hear about FIFA letting women wear Hijabs in soccer games in Pakistan and Iran.

But do we even know what the rules are there for and if they apply? The answer to this is no, because no one has ever addressed what a hijab is or how it is worn to see if it constitutes a safety risk.

From FIFA’s own website, the latest rules state:

Law 4 – The Players’ Equipment

SAFETY

* A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery)

BASIC EQUIPMENT

The basic compulsory equipment of a player comprises the following separate items:

* jersey or shirt;
* shorts – if thermal undershorts are worn; they are of the same colour as the shorts
* stockings;
* shinguards;
* footwear

NON-BASIC EQUIPMENT

*A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself/herself or another player
*Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks, knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight padded material are not considered dangerous and are therefore permitted

Now my quest was to determine “is wearing a hijab dangerous?” so to do so, I had to see what a hijab is and how it is worn so I did some googling and found a video series put on by The Canadian Muslim. The speaker is clear, articulate, and provides many types of demonstrations on how to wear various kinds of hijabs, oblongs, shaylas, etc.

The two things I noticed about wearing a hijab that had me most concerned are:

a) the pins and b) the wrapping of the hijab around the neck.

There are one or several pins used to keep the hijab in place. Since there is no rule on pins, the only two areas that might address this are the section on Jewellery (which states under no conditions is any jewellery to be worn) and the section on safety. In my mind, the pins alone would be enough to constitute the hijab as a risk to the wearer and, possibly, other players.

The video link below will show you how the hijab is typically worn. I watched both Part I and Part II and for the most part, the hijab is draped over the head with the ends coming under the chin and then being pulled back above the head over the ears (where they are pinned, or they can be draped over the shoulder. In addressing the positions, I came to the conclusion that each and every way the hijab was worn, there is a risk of a third party grabbing it in a way that would create a choking hazard.

In light of these two reasons, I would, personally, say that the hijab should not be worn on the soccer field AS IT IS TRADITIONALLY WORN. Note the emphasis. If there is a style of hijab or a way to wear it that does not use pins, or if there is a way for it to fall apart with absolutely no risk of choking, my view would change. But from what I have seen, I do believe they constitute a safety risk and should not be allowed on soccer fields.

I hope this article sparks someone to develop an “athletic hijab” the way others have developed athletic shoes, athletic bras, athletic socks, etc.

You can see “How to wear a hijab: Part I” by clicking Here.
You can see “How to wear a hijab: Part II” by clicking Here.

5 thoughts on “Can Soccer And Hijab Mix?

  • March 3, 2007 at 1:18 pm
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    I agree with your analysis. Even the “taping” of rings or earings is not permitted. One only has to look at the shirt pulling in the premier leagues to realize the anything done for an advantage is tried and the women’s game is no different. The ref in this case was right in following the FIFA rules and it looks as if it caused a world wide review of the issue with FIFA discussing it in England this weekend.

    That said the game at age 11 is vastly different than at the pro’s. Some leniency on the part of all concerned at the minor age groups should always be considered.

  • March 3, 2007 at 1:40 pm
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    This little girl and her parents knew this day would come. If they can’t follow the rules, or choose not to, then the consequences are just. The little girl said that she would not play in Quebec until the rules are changed. Imagine all of that power in the hands of an 11-year-old.

    Sad that she’s learning to make the world conform to her, rather than the other way around.

    I applaud FIFA for sticking to their guidelines. They’ve been doing what they do for a long time, and don’t need an 11-year-old to come along to tell them to do it differently. That’s just beyond the arrogance of youth.

  • March 3, 2007 at 4:49 pm
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    I haven’t heard of FIFA allowing the hijab in Pakistan.

    What I did hear is a formal statement (CTV NewsNet) purportedly from FIFA clearly stating that FIFA rules do not permit the wearing of the hijab. That the matter needs to be approached with sensitivity, but that the rules are the rules.

    Given that the (mens) U-20 FIFA World Cup will take place in Canada during July of this year, it is that much more important that all referees know and enforce the rules equally.

  • March 3, 2007 at 6:19 pm
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    How about velcro hijab, a made in Canada solution.

  • March 7, 2007 at 1:34 am
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    Please go and look up something called an Amira (or Amirah) hijab which is one piece that slides over the head.

    And by the way, pulling on a shirt could choke someone…should the little girls to topless? Should women with long hair not be allowed to have a ponytail or a bun (both of which could be pulled easily).

    Amazing that of the thousands and thousands of Muslim women who have played soccor, I don’t recall ever hearing of one single incident where a woman got strangled by hijab. Nor do I recall ever hearing of another player being assaulted by a scarf.

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